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Old 09-21-09, 10:18 AM   #1
Catul
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Carrying Pepper Spray?

Hi all, newbie here - just posted in the General Cycling Discussion forum but thought perhaps I'd get a more targeted response here:

I've recently started riding on bike paths/MUP with my young kids, and am concerned about the slim possibility of dog attacks (reading about stuff like this doesn't help !). With dogs, up-to-no-good humans, and rare black bears (we do have some in this area), I decided I needed to be prepared and so just ordered some Sabre Red Cyclist Pepper Spray - looks like I can just strap it to the top post, haven't received it yet. Also considered the Kimber PepperBlaster which should be equally effective.

Anyone carry either of these products with them? Anyone actually used these? Any other thoughts on "active protection" issues when riding on bike paths with your kids?

Hopefully I never have occasion to use any of this stuff. Thanks!
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Old 09-21-09, 10:29 AM   #2
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Prepare for the biggest problem, and it will also handle the smaller problems:

http://www.counterassault.com/html/bearproducts.html
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Old 09-21-09, 11:02 AM   #3
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I did come across the Counter Assualt bear spray when I was searching for these products. Looks like it has a greater/stronger spray distance than the Sabre Red & Kimber products; the Sabre Red appears to have as potent (or stronger) an OC content as any other, and probably as important, is convenient to carry and retrieve. The Counter Assault can is large, and I don't want to stash this thing in a pouch/backpack where it would be slow to reach when it's really needed.
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Old 09-21-09, 11:17 AM   #4
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If you are encountering aggressive bears in your area as well as dogs and unsavory people, then get bear spray. Otherwise a commercial/chemical grade spray bottle full of ammonia is adequate enough for dogs. With any of those products just be careful which way and how hard the wind is blowing...might get your target as well as yourself and your children a few moments later.
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Old 09-21-09, 11:23 AM   #5
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I did come across the Counter Assualt bear spray when I was searching for these products. Looks like it has a greater/stronger spray distance than the Sabre Red & Kimber products; the Sabre Red appears to have as potent (or stronger) an OC content as any other, and probably as important, is convenient to carry and retrieve. The Counter Assault can is large, and I don't want to stash this thing in a pouch/backpack where it would be slow to reach when it's really needed.
Something to consider:
In tests I've read about, the biggest problem with pepper-spray effectiveness is that most sprays
eject a narrow stream, and miss the target, giving the attacker time to close the distance.
Bear spray is usually a high-volume *cone* of spray, making it a *lot* less likely to miss.
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Old 09-21-09, 12:51 PM   #6
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I will do some test sprays with the Sabre Red when it arrives so I have a good feel for what it will be like. Bear aggression has not been a problem, but there have been occasional sightings in and around our area (including by my own kids when in their grandma's backyard!).

I don't expect much of a problem of course, but would hate to come upon a situation and not be prepared. I think the Counter Assault product would be best for bears, but also a hassle to carry (and I don't see myself wearing it in that holster they show, strapped across my chest, while riding down the MUP ).

Does anyone carry any pepper spray at all? I would think the Sabre Red cyclist product would be relatively useful and popular as an easy-to-carry solution.
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Old 09-21-09, 01:35 PM   #7
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I carry it. I attach it to my bars with a strip of velcro, right next to my bell...
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Old 09-22-09, 05:18 AM   #8
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Remember not to spray against the wind though, you might get the pepper spray back at your face!
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Old 09-22-09, 05:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Catul View Post
Hi all, newbie here - just posted in the General Cycling Discussion forum but thought perhaps I'd get a more targeted response here:

I've recently started riding on bike paths/MUP with my young kids, and am concerned about the slim possibility of dog attacks (reading about stuff like this doesn't help !). With dogs, up-to-no-good humans, and rare black bears (we do have some in this area), I decided I needed to be prepared and so just ordered some Sabre Red Cyclist Pepper Spray - looks like I can just strap it to the top post, haven't received it yet. Also considered the Kimber PepperBlaster which should be equally effective.

Anyone carry either of these products with them? Anyone actually used these? Any other thoughts on "active protection" issues when riding on bike paths with your kids?

Hopefully I never have occasion to use any of this stuff. Thanks!

What if you miss and spray your kids?
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Old 09-22-09, 05:40 AM   #10
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If dogs on the MUP is what you're worried about, I would think a good hard kick would suffice. A kick to the owner might be a good idea too.

When I lived in Queens there was a huge Akita that on two-occassions broke through a closed car window to attack another dog. The dumba@@ owner thought that was cool. Whenever that dog was around I made sure I had a knife in my pocket to cut its throat if it ever clamped onto me, my wife, or my dog (or anyone besides its owner).

See what your local postman carries, and ask him if it works. If he's a walker, chances are he's had to use it.

As far as bears -- the black bears that may stumble into your area will be much less of a threat than any dog, and can be scared away with some loud noise.
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Old 09-22-09, 08:50 AM   #11
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What if you miss and spray your kids?
Am I a bad person because I lol'd at this?
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Old 09-22-09, 08:54 AM   #12
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Am I a bad person because I lol'd at this?
Naw.
Spray the kids first then the bear won't eat them.
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Old 09-22-09, 09:06 AM   #13
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The point regarding misdirected spray is well heeded. It's one reason I considered the Kimberly product, since it directs the spray with a lot more force that is resistant to wind direction. Only has two "shots" though, so I thought the Sabre Red would be better since I can try it out to see how the spray actually comes out.

In any case, the issue is whether this is the best product to carry. I'd think it's certainly better to have something, as a last resort, than to be in the (yes, very rare) situation of having to protect your kids and not having anything beyond a loud voice and scared/adrenaline-pumping hands.

I'm not very concerned about bears since there have been no aggressive attacks, we're pretty much sticking to MUP's where we're unlikely to surprise a bear. Dogs have tended to be well-leashed too. So it's just a precaution, maybe I'm paranoid, but I'd rather have this thing strapped to my frame than not.
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Old 09-22-09, 09:07 AM   #14
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Naw.
Spray the kids first then the bear won't eat them.
But what if the bear *likes* spicy foods?
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Old 09-22-09, 09:23 AM   #15
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^Bears do like spicy foods. Pepper spray only repels a bear if you get it full on in their faces. Otherwise it attracts them. That's why you're not supposed to bring the spray into a tent with you.
You'd need a pretty hardcore spray cannister to repel a bear at a useful distance.

Read this.
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Old 09-24-09, 07:49 AM   #16
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The Red Sabre Cyclist arrived yesterday - mounts easily to my top tube, the velcro feels pretty secure and the whole thing is fairly compact. I like having this easily accessible, and now hope never to need it
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Old 09-24-09, 01:16 PM   #17
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Relative to bears the best first step is something like the old backpackers trick of tying bells to their pack. Most bears prefer to be left alone. It is the bear you surprise that is dangerous. You can get seriously injured simply becasue a bear retreats right over you.

I've rarely had issues with dogs, never with 'no good humans' and I made several trips along the Balogna Creek bike path that goes right behind the projects including a couple of solo cleanup missions. Never with bears, one incident with a deer, at least a 3 point buck, having such troting towards you when you both are pinned between the curb and the cars is not a fun thought. Lucky for me the buck liked the cars far less than I and found an alternate to the road well before he was dangerously close to me.
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Old 09-24-09, 01:36 PM   #18
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Relative to bears the best first step is something like the old backpackers trick of tying bells to their pack.
"There were 3 cases out of 71 repellent tests when the bear never became aware of the stimulus. These "no reaction" cases are important. In 1 case, the second grizzly bear, Snarly, did not react to a dog whistle, and twice when small bells were tested on Growly, he slept through the test. The bells were of the type sold to hikers in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks to warn bears of the approaching hiker and thereby prevent an encounter. In these tests the assistant, less than 6 m from the bear, failed to arouse it. Warning bears before getting too close is a good strategy for preventing encounters, but the bells currently sold to hikers for that purpose are inadequate."

Ref: http://www.bearbiology.com/fileadmin...ller_Vol_5.pdf
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Old 09-24-09, 11:13 PM   #19
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Instead of spraying some animal in the face with chemicals why not spritz yourself with the urine of a really big bear? Nothing will go near you. Nothing.
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Old 09-24-09, 11:19 PM   #20
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Instead of spraying some animal in the face with chemicals why not spritz yourself with the urine of a really big bear? Nothing will go near you. Nothing.
Sounds like a solution, but I fear the act of collecting it could be more dangerous than the original problem.
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Old 09-30-09, 11:23 AM   #21
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Do have a practice shot or 2 w/ the pepper spray. This will much increase your chances of successful use in case it comes to that.
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Old 09-30-09, 02:06 PM   #22
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What about wind? Wouldn't that make the spray go all over the place?
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Old 09-30-09, 02:12 PM   #23
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What about wind? Wouldn't that make the spray go all over the place?
Absolutely. It is one reason they offer stream and aerosol. Stream is much less affected by the wind but you need accuracy. With the aerosol, you have a much higher chance of affecting unintended targets.
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Old 02-12-10, 01:15 PM   #24
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For those of you considering purchasing an oc spray and are worried about unintended targets do to wind or bad aim, look into buying a oc spray that sprays a foam.
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Old 02-12-10, 02:52 PM   #25
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OP, ride an relax. Don't over think, just be alert. I retired to a beautiful national forest west of Glacier National Park. I live between 2 grizzly and black bear habitats. We also have mountain lions. This doesn't keep me from riding the unimproved forest roads in spring, summer and fall. (Exploring the forest by bike is so rewarding. Everywhere you look you see spectacular views like the one below.) I stay alert to my surrounds (in urban/suburban areas, you probably need to be as alert about the humans surrounding you, you're much more likely to be injured by another human, intentionally or unintentionally). Here, given that we have grizzlies, it's not recommended that you carry pepper spray without being taught how to use it. The best way to stay safe is avoid an encounter by being aware of your surroundings. And noise doesn't necessarily deter a bear. I hope never to have an encounter with a bear, either grizzly or black bear. (I don't want an encounter with a mountain lion either.)

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