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  1. #1
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    I just watched an interesting film called Grizzly Man. I started a thread about it in books and movies but I soon realized that there is a relationship between this film and cycling.

    In the documentary, Tim Treadwell lives with bears in Alaska for 15 seasons before he is eventually eaten by one of them. It is a very stirring film, that really caused me to think about the relationship between real danger and perceived danger.

    Many people were interviewed in the film and said he got what he deserved. I pretty much agree, because I think living with Bears and walking among them is very dangerous. But I never lived with them for 15 years. So what do I know?

    I also know a lot of people that don't ride and consider cycling very dangerous. Some are even in my own family. It is scary to watch people simplify a person's death by saying they got what they deserved. Sure it seems like Tim Treadwell deserved to be eaten by bears to you and me. However we didn't spend thousands and thousands of harmless hours with the bears either.

    Much like spending thousands of hours on a bike before a motorist takes what used to be your safe and healthy acivity and turns it into something that appears foolish and dangerous. It just takes the one incident and your legacy can be tarnished forever. Like i stated in the other thread, it is very scary to think of people speaking publicly (or privately for that matter) about you and saying you got what you deserved because you were being foolish.

    I know that most people wouldn't say this about a cyclist, but don't kid yourself. I bet you can think of someone right now that would probably say that about you if you were killed. I can think of a few in my own family that might. For some reason, the thought of that is far more frightening than the thought of being killed.
    Last edited by Portis; 01-03-06 at 11:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    In many ways they are similar. Bears and cars are both so much bigger than you are that if they want to hurt you then you have little chance.

    BUT:

    I have never heard of a motorist deciding (rightly or wrongly) that a cyclist was a danger to her cub (child) and taking action on it.

    YET:

    It does seem that somes a motorist decides that cyclists are invading their turf and taking action on it.

    There is one other thing that is rather similar, but not exact. With bears it can depend a lot on the kind of bear. Fooling with Grizzlys is just stupid. They take down Elks for food. A man would make a nice snack. The kind of bears in the lower 48 are entirely different. It might be rather similar as to the kind of roads one rides. I sure would consider riding in the main lanes of a freeway dangerous (a nice wide shoulder is a different story).

    Perhaps one could even consider the drivers in different parts of the U.S. differetn kinds of bears. Some fairly safe, others pretty dangerous.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    I think the statistics of people who ride on the road and live is much better than the people who live among bears and live. At least the statistics I have seen say that on average cycling is a safe activity.
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  4. #4
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Several years ago I went to Laramie WY with a friend to see Tim Treadwell talk about the bears he was studying. It was an interesting talk, he seemed a bit eccentric, but he felt very passionate about the bears, perhaps similiar to the way some of us cyclists feel about our sport..... maybe he tought the risks he took were worth it to him.
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  5. #5
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Maybe this explains why bears only ride bicycles in tents on ropes high above the ground.

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    Maybe this question should have been a poll.

    So far, when bears see me coming they run.

    Cars don't usually see me coming.

  7. #7
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    The kind of bears in the lower 48 are entirely different.
    The black bears found in California (Yosemite), Oregon, etc. are relatively harmless, but the browns/grizzlies in Wyoming (Yellowstone) and Montana (Glacier) have been known to "snack" on humans all too often.

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    The black bears found in California (Yosemite), Oregon, etc. are relatively harmless, but the browns/grizzlies in Wyoming (Yellowstone) and Montana (Glacier) have been known to "snack" on humans all too often.
    Sorry, my bad, forgot about the grizzly population in Montana. Also agree on the relatively. Actually on the one hand I've seen black bears put up with quite a lot from humans. On the other I've also seen their strength. If you get a black bear angry you are apt to die or at least be hurt very badly.

  9. #9
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    I think this is a question of education and experience. I've hiked in Grizzly country in Alaska, but I was prepared and didn't go hiking towards the one grizzly I did see. Same as when most of us ride, stay out of the door zones, don't aggravate aggressive drivers, etc. A better analogy to hugging a bear would be riding on an urban interstate. Though I think the OP is right that many folks would consider riding in any traffic analogous to poking a bear and that we will all eventually get what is coming to us. It's pretty sad.
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    Heard a talk at my advocacy group's agm by a Tierra del Fuego - Alaska rider. Leaving aside the headwind for the first 1000 miles, he was advised to make a noise while travelling thro' bear country in the mountains so that they would hear him and move away.

    Didn't quite work when he was doing about 45/50mph down off the Rockies and found a grizzly mother bear and cub(s) in front of him as he rounded a bend. Decided not to make a noise and zipped through the group. Said he left brick-shaped objects behind him for next few hundred yards

  11. #11
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Living among bears is just like practicing vehicular cycling. Sure, you take all the precautions and behave in what you think is a safe and predictable way but all it takes is one miscalculation by either you or a driver and only then you realise just what the difference is between a 150 - 300lb human body on a bike at 15 - 25 mph, and a 2500 - 3000 lb vehichle at 45+ mph, but then it's too late.

  12. #12
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    Maybe this explains why bears only ride bicycles in tents on ropes high above the ground.

    it must be !!
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    From what I read Tim Treadwell had more in common with daredevils than scientists. To make a bike analogy, he's like a kid riding his bmx off a roof. I would much rather be compared to any of the nameless but non-eaten bear researchers that take proper safety precautions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foible
    From what I read Tim Treadwell had more in common with daredevils than scientists. To make a bike analogy, he's like a kid riding his bmx off a roof. I would much rather be compared to any of the nameless but non-eaten bear researchers that take proper safety precautions.
    Good reply.

  15. #15
    1.9lb/in pseudobrit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul L.
    I think the statistics of people who ride on the road and live is much better than the people who live among bears and live. At least the statistics I have seen say that on average cycling is a safe activity.
    I think a sample size of one for the "people living with bears" poll is a bit low.

    I mean, 15 years seems like a good amount of time out there without getting killed. And it just so happens that the average is now 15 years. So if the average person plays with bears, they could statistically expect to spend an accumulated 15 years doing so before getting killed. Nothing to worry about, right?

  16. #16
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Grizzly Man, a Werner Herzog film, i think. What if Aguirre had to deal with bears (did he?)

    I try to stay out of the bear zone!

    I've run into two bear so far while bicycling, a black bear this year out in the way-backwoods of the Olympic peninsula, and a big brown sow in Montana once... I just started whoopin and hollering to clear the track. They've been less trouble than traffic for me personally so far.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  17. #17
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    There have actually been bear sightings in Iowa in recent years...mountain lions, too. I reckon the hogs outta watch out.

    How about hugging a bear in traffic?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudobrit
    I think a sample size of one for the "people living with bears" poll is a bit low.

    I mean, 15 years seems like a good amount of time out there without getting killed. And it just so happens that the average is now 15 years. So if the average person plays with bears, they could statistically expect to spend an accumulated 15 years doing so before getting killed. Nothing to worry about, right?
    Yeah, I guess 100% of people who lived with bears in our study died doesn't sound as impressive if you say there was only 1 person in the study.

    Personally I have a lot more experience cycling than living with bears so I guess my "gut" feeling is cycling is safer as cycling actually gives you a health benefit. I suppose living with bears could give you a health benefit to come too think of it depending on how fast you could run.
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  19. #19
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    It's more dangerous to hug a bear riding in the road.

    Was the bear taking the whole lane? Bears have rights too!!

    Was he a VBC? (vehicular bear cyclist) not to be confused with a bare vehicular cyclist. That sounds dangerous too.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul L.
    I suppose living with bears could give you a health benefit to come too think of it depending on how fast you could run.
    Reminds me of the two guys that were camping in Yosemite one time. A huge Grizzly came rolling into their camp with hardly any warning. One of the guys immediately reached into his tent and pulled out his tennis shoes. The other guy said, "what the hell are you doing? You can't outrun that bear." He looked up and said, " I don't have to. All I have to do is outrun you!"

  21. #21
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Here's what we do with bears in WI. A friend of mine shot this in Sept., her first bear 535 Lb

  22. #22
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steele-Bike
    There have actually been bear sightings in Iowa in recent years...mountain lions, too. I reckon the hogs outta watch out.
    The real deal Lions will be returning to Iowa City but not until Nov 8, 2008. Mark that date down; the Lions will be looking to feast on Iowa Hawks.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedhed
    Here's what we do with bears in WI. A friend of mine shot this in Sept., her first bear 535 Lb
    Was there supposed to be a picture or was this a polar bear? In which case hunting at the zoo can get you in big trouble .
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  24. #24
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul L.
    Was there supposed to be a picture or was this a polar bear? In which case hunting at the zoo can get you in big trouble .
    It wouldn't let me post a html doc. so I had to send it from home from work try again.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  25. #25
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    I heard that if you're hiking (or biking) in grizzly country, that you should attach numerous tiny bells to your clothing, so the bears will hear you coming.

    I've also heard that you should be on the alert for grizzly bear signs along the trail, such as pawprints, trees where they have sharpened their claws, or poop. Grizzly bear poop is easy to identify: it has lots of tiny bells in it.






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