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Mountain lion on Mines Road

Old 01-22-15, 12:51 AM
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teacherlady
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Mountain lion on Mines Road

I watched a mountain lion watching us, about 20 miles up Mines Road on Saturday.

At the time, I assumed it was a bobcat, since I've seen several up there. It was only later, when I looked at the picture I took, and thought about its size, its build, and the fact that it wasn't scared of us, that I wondered. It was bigger than a bobcat, with more lightly built haunches, and had a long tail.

Do mountain lions see prey when they see a bicyclist? I'm wondering about the wisdom of going up there alone now. I certainly can't ride faster than a mountain lion can run, at least not on any upgrade!
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Old 01-22-15, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by teacherlady View Post
I watched a mountain lion watching us, about 20 miles up Mines Road on Saturday.

At the time, I assumed it was a bobcat, since I've seen several up there. It was only later, when I looked at the picture I took, and thought about its size, its build, and the fact that it wasn't scared of us, that I wondered. It was bigger than a bobcat, with more lightly built haunches, and had a long tail.

Do mountain lions see prey when they see a bicyclist? I'm wondering about the wisdom of going up there alone now. I certainly can't ride faster than a mountain lion can run, at least not on any upgrade!
I wish I could say, "No way, a mountain lion would never attack a road cyclist," but that seems wrong. I can say I've never heard of it happening, and it seems astoundingly unlikely to me, I probably view being killed by falling space debris while riding on Mines Road to be about as likely as being attacked by a mountain lion.

I have heard of a mountain biker being attacked by a mountain lion on the trail. Both incidents I am familiar with occurred in Southern California, a 1995 incident that did not result in a fatality (except for the mountain lion being found and killed), and a 2004 incident in which one man was killed (so far as I know, they never really figured for certain whether he was on his bike when attacked, crouching and fixing a chain, or having/had a heart attack), and another woman riding near his body was attacked and survived (with the help of others chasing off the lion, who was subsequently found and killed). If a mountain lion can see prey when it sees a mountain biker on a trail, can it see prey when seeing a road cyclist on a road? I don't know.

I'm not sure if it will make you feel better, but there are DEFINITELY potentially fatal dangers I'd worry about on Mines Road before I'd worry about a mountain lion. I'd worry much more about being hit by a car or a motorcycle than being killed by a mountain lion. A rider out alone was killed by a vehicle in a hit and run sometime in the last decade. His bike and body weren't found for a few days, he got knocked off the road and into some brush. Two or three years ago, a motorcyclist drove off the road somewhere around 19 miles up Mines, the bike went down into the Arroyo, I saw it being winched up by a tow truck. If a motorcyclist is riding so out of control that he can't keep himself on the road, there is certainly a danger that he will hit a cyclist. I see plenty of crazy motorcyclists on Mines, although getting hit by a motorcycle on Mines is more survivable than being hit by a car/SUV/ranch truck. I've been riding fast downhill on Mines/San Antonio Valley Road when I've had an animal suddenly come into the road, usually a variety of squirrel, but a couple of times a rabbit, once a deer. Never had a collision, but it can be fatal. I've been scared by bobcats on Mines, not because I think they will attack me, but I've seen them in a position where I'm worried about it coming into the road in front of me (once had a near collision with a bobcat not far from the top of Arroyo Road in Livermore). Some good news is that I haven't seen any wild turkeys on Mines. A guy was killed a couple of years back when he hit some turkeys on Alhambra Road, which prompted someone to post on another forum that turkeys are more dangerous than mountain lions. I've had a couple of close calls with turkeys coming down Dublin Canyon into Pleasanton. I hope they never come to Mines.

I haven't let any of the dangers stop me from going up Mines alone. Pretty much no matter what paved road you ride, the danger of being killed or injured by a vehicle is a lot greater than the danger of being killed or injured by a mountain lion. Unfortunately, I can't tell you there is no danger from mountain lions while on your road bike, even though I've never heard of an attack on a road cyclist, because if I say NO danger, then I'll end up being the first person I've heard of attacked by a mountain lion on his road bike.
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Old 01-22-15, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by teacherlady View Post
when I looked at the picture I took,
What? Post that photo!


Check this out for some perspective:
California: Verified Mountain Lion Attacks on Humans - California Department of Fish and Wildlife
National: Mountain Lion Attacks from 2001 to 2010 (better descriptions here, including a couple involving cyclists)
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Old 01-22-15, 07:45 PM
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If you're calm, the cats will be calm right?

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Old 01-22-15, 11:36 PM
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Here's the picture.
It's not a very good photo: I was so awed that it took a few minutes to think of getting a picture, and by then she was walking away through the brush above us. However, the tail is obvious, and I've been told that the tail is the difference between a bobcat and a mountain lion.

Look, I teach statistics, and know the difference between dangerous and scary. I am certain that the motorized vehicles up there are more dangerous than any wildlife (though I have seen several wild turkeys up there). In fact, I'm probably more at risk from an out of control cyclist than from any predator.

I just think it's really cool that I can get off the light rail from one of the densest cities in the country and RIDE MY BIKE to a place where the deer and the antelope play -- and the mountain lions too! Isn't a bicycle a wonderful thing, and aren't we lucky that we get to ride our bikes here!
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Old 01-22-15, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by teacherlady View Post
Here's the picture.
It's not a very good photo: I was so awed that it took a few minutes to think of getting a picture, and by then she was walking away through the brush above us. However, the tail is obvious, and I've been told that the tail is the difference between a bobcat and a mountain lion.
Yes, the tail is definitive - good you were able to get any kind of picture at all. I've only seen one mountain lion in the wild. It was while hiking fairly close to Borges Ranch outside Walnut Creek and she was bringing a big squirrel home to her two cubs.

I'd think the danger is really minimal. A mtn. lion would have to be very desperate to take on an adult human - too much chance of getting injured which would usually end up being fatal for a wild animal. And if they were to hunt they'd want to sneak up and pounce from behind - possible if you sat down to rest or eat something, but not if you just stayed on your bike and kept riding.
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Old 01-23-15, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by teacherlady View Post
Here's the picture.

I may be wrong but it looks more like a coyote to me. The posture, the tail position, the size of the ears don't seem to be from a cougar. I doubt a cougar would have stayed in view sight while aware of your presence.

Yes, a mountain lion attacked, and killed a mountain biker in Southern CA years ago but this was an extremely rare event. It surely happened when the cyclist rode under the tree the cat was hiding and waiting for game (deer). That's what they do. One thing is sure cougars are very shy in regards to humans and very smart. I doubt any of them would ambush something on a paved road.

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Old 01-23-15, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by blt View Post
Some good news is that I haven't seen any wild turkeys on Mines.
Maybe the cougars have something to do with that.
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Old 01-23-15, 03:56 PM
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That looks like a coyote. *shrug*
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Old 01-24-15, 12:43 PM
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Definitely a coyote. I've seen them sit on or next to Skyline Blvd on the Peninsula. They are not afraid of people, but will not be aggressive unless they are diseased.
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Old 01-28-15, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by teacherlady View Post
Here's the picture.
It's not a very good photo: I was so awed that it took a few minutes to think of getting a picture, and by then she was walking away through the brush above us. However, the tail is obvious, and I've been told that the tail is the difference between a bobcat and a mountain lion.

Look, I teach statistics, and know the difference between dangerous and scary. I am certain that the motorized vehicles up there are more dangerous than any wildlife (though I have seen several wild turkeys up there). In fact, I'm probably more at risk from an out of control cyclist than from any predator.

I just think it's really cool that I can get off the light rail from one of the densest cities in the country and RIDE MY BIKE to a place where the deer and the antelope play -- and the mountain lions too! Isn't a bicycle a wonderful thing, and aren't we lucky that we get to ride our bikes here!
OK, now you're making me more scared of Mines, you've seen wild turkeys up there. I've learned from my close calls on Dublin Canyon, they are so stupid that no matter what speed I'm going, and no matter how clearly they see I'm coming, they may just come out into the road in front of me. I'd hate to have one suddenly come in front of me going downhill fast on any stretch of Mines.

It looks like a coyote to me, too. See a few of those in my times out on the road. A few months ago, I stopped on Collier Canyon to watch a coyote stalking a deer. The coyote seemed to eventually give up, although maybe he was just fooling me into riding away. It is cool that we live in a place where it is so easy to go out and ride among wildlife. The downside is that from a bike, the view of road kill is much more unpleasant than it is from a car. Also, when the vultures are circling overhead when I am riding on a nasty uphill, I wonder if I'm in as bad shape as the vultures seem to think.
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Old 01-28-15, 08:21 PM
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That picture is a coyote.
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Old 01-28-15, 08:28 PM
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another vote for coyote
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Old 01-28-15, 10:51 PM
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I would be more worried about racer boys in their cars and on motorcycles then mountain lions, but that's me.
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Old 01-29-15, 01:35 PM
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Also... bears on Diablo.

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Old 01-29-15, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Also... bears on Diablo.
You're pushing after school detention there buddy
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Old 01-29-15, 04:02 PM
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Mountain lions have horrible eye sight, and yes a cyclist (mountain biker) was killed a few years back on the way to Mount Wilson behind Pasadena if I remember correctly--The cyclist made the unfortunate "mistake" of crouching to fix his chain.
I have learned (not by experience) that the last thing is to try to get away fast, and the best thing is to make a lot of noise, make yourself as big as possible by brandishing your bike over your head, retreating slowly backward and doing all this if you are not scared stiff! Mountain lions are also extremely shy!
It is more of a problem for mountain bikers than for a road cyclists. I did see one once on the NorthWest coast of Oregon mountain biking--I did not have time to get scared because the lion was gone in no time and took me a few seconds to realize what I had seen! It is relatively easy to surprise wild life on a mountain bike as you go down fast and around corners. In that same area (Onion Peaks) I have seen a bear many elks and one absolutely huge male elk he was truly impressive by his size, his antlers his power as he was coming up a very steep embankment to cross the fire road and gave me a look of what I perceived as disdain--that was an experience and of course no time for pictures unfortunately. In any case stay safe and alert out there mostly for bad drivers!
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Old 01-29-15, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Also... bears on Diablo.

I have seen alot of those "bears" on Diablo! They are not shy either!
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Old 01-30-15, 06:18 PM
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Bobcat on Diablo - I've been riding The Mountain for 23 years, seen maybe six, and only photographed one.


Last edited by DiabloScott; 01-30-15 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 02-03-15, 12:51 PM
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Pretty sure the OPs picture is a coyote as others have said.
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