This video uploaded on YouTube in November of 2014 shows a cyclist trying to escape from a bear attack. It got 38 million views as of now. But then the people of Reddit did what they always do; it turned out to be a video made with CGI. For 2014, it was a damn good video.
However, just because Mr. Gregor CGI’d the video doesn’t mean a bear attack doesn’t happen. All over North America, cyclists had seen bears when they were out cycling.
When I came across that video, I wondered, can you outrun a bear on a bike? I thought the answer would be a simple “Yes”. But it’s not. If luck is not on your side, a bear can catch up even if you’re pedaling as fast as you can.
If you ride a bike and live near the woods, it’s always good to know and be prepared for it. Keep on reading.
How Fast Can a Bear Run?
Did you know a grizzly bear can sprint at 30 miles per hour? Yeah, it’s news to me.
According to Lana M. Ciarniello, the grizzly bear expert from the International Union for the Conservation tells us that bears in general can run faster than the fastest human. If the bear is excited enough, it can reach 40 miles per hour.
So, if we’re on foot, we’re doomed. But can you ride your bike faster than 30-40 miles per hour? On paved roads, you could. But it’s highly unlikely if you’re inside the jungle.
Most people would not be able to keep up the same pace for a long time, while an adult and young bear can go at it for a long time.
How Fast Can a Human Ride a Bike?
The speed depends on who’s riding the bike. If it’s an amateur biker, they’ll be far behind a professional.
According to BikeToWorkDay, professional cyclists can achieve 45 miles per hour speed. So, it’s on par with a bear’s speed. On top of that, it’s rated for paved roads.
Unless you’re riding on paved roads inside a park or a jungle, you’re not going to achieve such speed.
Biking speed is affected by various factors such as fitness, weight, road condition, style of the bike’s gear, etc.
We can safely say that an excited bear will catch up to your even if you ride fast.
What’s the Good News?
The good news is that a bear running after you on its own is considered an extremely rare event unless you have something to do with provoking it.
Statistical data tells us that most attacks by bears are defensive reactions when someone is encroaching on their territory.
And that means, if you’re not provoking the bear in any way, you’ll be fine. However, there are a few precautions and tips to keep in mind in case you find yourself crossing paths with one.
Furthermore, although bears can run fast, they cannot keep it up for long. As soon as you leave their territory, they normally calm down.
What to Do If a Bear Attacks When You’re on a Bike?
The experts in animal behavior have a list of tactics they advise the citizens to follow. It’s the same for anyone walking, riding, and running.
Remember, the bear in front of you most likely doesn’t want to attack you. Stand your ground and wave. Let it recognize you as a human. If it finds you non-threatening it will leave you alone.
Move to Higher Ground
This tactic lets the bear know that you have the advantage. It makes you look bigger.
The first thing to do when bears spot and come at you is to slow down. Don’t keep pedaling towards the bear or make a sudden move. Move backward with your bike slowly. Do not turn your back to the bear.
Find a Barrier
If there’s a barrier near you that you can put between you and the bear, you can use it. Get to it if you think you can make it.
Use Bear Spray
Biker communities always ask their member to carry a bear spray with them at all times when riding through the woods. They are effective enough to give you the time to get away. Use 2-3 bursts of spray if the bear is 10 meters away.
So, can you outrun a bear on a bike? While it may seem possible, taking every possible scenario into account, I’d discourage everyone from thinking that. You are safer if you follow the advice given by your local park rangers and authorities. For more info on bear attacks, the National Park Service is there.