Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bear Minimum

A friend of mine emailed me a link to this article about a Montana teacher that ran across, over and under a 300 pound black bear. He was biking to school and couldn’t stop in time to avoid the bear. Both he and the bear went tumbling down the hill, ala Tom and Jerry, before the bear scampered (if anything 300 pounds can actually scamper) off into the woods.

According to the article, the teacher claims to have been moving at 25 MPH which is pretty damn fast to be moving on a bike. He also says that he first spotted the bear about 10 feet in front of him and didn’t have time to react.

I won’t second guess the guy….

Fuck that, I will. 10 feet is a lot of space. Even if you’re traveling at 25 MPH you have nearly 3 seconds to react. And I’ll bet the reaction of seeing a big ass bear in your way is innately more swift than seeing a chipmunk in that same path. If anything throw yourself off the bike. It’s better than any other scenario. Including the one in which a 300 pound bear rolls over your head, which is what happened to this guy.

By the way, I really like how the guy is holding his ribs in the picture. As if to prove he really is hurt. ‘Oh, ow, god I am so sore’. We get it. Save the drama for your mama.

Below the link to this article, my friend writes ‘I’m not sure if this is worse than running into a parked car or not…’

Which, of course, got my idle brain revving into gear.

What would be worse, running into a car or a bear?

In order to make an informed decision, let’s consider all the factors.


Car: Unyielding steel. Lots of it. If you’re lucky you might run into one of those Saturns that have the flexible fiberglass panels on it, but that could also increase your bounce on the ricochet and cause you more damage when you hit the street.

Bear: Lots and lots of fur. Considering the bear is probably priming itself for hibernation this time of year, it would also be quite blubbery with fat.

Advantage: Bear. NOTE: The advantage is for whoever happens to be riding the bike.


Car: None

Bear: Strong possibility it will tear off your arms because you bruised it’s ass with your helmet.

Advantage: Car


Car: None. A car is an inanimate object. If you can’t avoid a car you, your bike, and any number of your bones are fucked.

Bear: Since bears are becoming more and more accustomed to sharing space with humans, you could luck out and find a Boo Boo Bear type that would stand up, catch you gently and cradle you like a big baby while licking any scrapes or wounds before placing you carefully on the ground, fixing your bent front wheel and giving you a push on your way. I'm not saying it would happen, just saying it could.

Advantage: Bear


Car: Lots of safety glass that thankfully poses little threat to major arteries.

Bear: Claws, teeth, and a bad disposition after getting hit by an idiot on a bike.

Advantage: Car


Car: Won’t move after being hit (NOTE: unless you are WAYYY too heavy, in which case you most likely wouldn’t be riding a bike)

Bear: If you’re lucky, the bear runs into the woods; more frightened than you are. If you’re unlucky, all 300 pounds of it will tumble over your stupid head. If you’re really, really unlucky it will rip off your head because you got it’s morning off to a rocky start before heading back into the woods to forage for berries and to show off his new human head trophy to all it’s bear friends.

Advantage: Car


Car: Bike helmets really do prevent serious head injuries which is ironic since you look friggin’ retarded wearing the thing.

Bear: Bike helmets really do prevent serious head injuries leaving you horrifically aware you’re being torn to shreds by a massive, pissed off black bear.

Advantage: Car


Car: Concussion; a few broken bones; humiliation of being brought to the hospital still wearing your helmet; perhaps a pissed off car owner who adds in a few kicks to your ribs because you scratched his new Lexus.

Bear: Body parts scattered all over the woods; your head being used as the ball in a game of bear soccer; little cubs using your intestines for jump rope; family thinking you have simply disappeared because you were unhappy and possibly suicidal; life insurance never paying off because your body was never found.

Advantage: Car.

Bottom Line: If you’re going to hit something with your bike, hit a car. Or take the bus.

Case closed

Today’s distraction: Washington Post article detailing the alarming rise of bear attacks on humans in Alaska. What’s more interesting is that most of the survivors have ignored the long approved ‘play dead’ tactic and fought back. Uh, no, they don’t always win.


French said...

You're forgetting one comparison here, JB. There is zero chance of you and the car looking back on this incident 10 years down the road and laughing it up over a jar of honey.

Advantage (and a tasty one at that): Bear.

BeachBum said...

Even if you add that in (and I really wouldn't, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt) the car still wins.

The margin is closer, though.