Remembering Our Favorite Stories From 20 Years Ago
Normally, when we think of bike safety, we think of a helmet and solid riding skills. Rarely are knives and pepper spray considered standard mountain biking equipment. In fact, most of us feel safer in the mountains than we do riding around our local streets. However, whether you do your riding just minutes from the freeway or many miles from the closest strip mall, you are heading into the wilderness where you are seen as part of the food chain.
The February 1997 issue was chock-full of the types of stories that put Mountain Bike Action on the map. The issue included a six-bike full-suspension shootout, a huge buyer’s guide and plenty of product tests. Among our favorite stories from this issue, though, was one that had absolutely nothing to do with testing products. It was titled “How to Go for a Ride Without Being Eaten Alive.” Here are a few of our favorite excerpts from that somewhat-goofy-but-still-relevant story.
1. Dismount your bike and place it in front of you to appear larger and provide some protection.
2. Talk firmly at the bear.
3. Never make direct eye contact.
4. Show no fear, even if the bear stands up (much easier said than done).
5. If the bear charges, he may be bluffing. Again, it’s important to show no fear. (We actually wrote this as if you wouldn’t be soiling your chamois by now.)
6. If you regularly ride in bear country, pepper spray is your best defense. Carry a can of this in your pack.
7. When riding, make noise, such as whistling, singing or talking. This alerts the bears to your presence so they will leave you alone. (Today, we would recommend using a “bear bell,” which constantly rings so you can save your singing voice for the shower.)
These are a few tips for handling such an encounter:
1. Dismount and put your bike in front of you.
2. Look the lion straight in the eyes. (Don’t mix this up with the bear advice.)
3. If attacked, fight back with anything you have, including fists, rocks, your bike or cash.
4. Don’t forget that can of Mace, because it will be your best defense in this situation.
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