Today I had a bear encounter when cycling in Canada. People often ask me what is the best thing to do if there are bears on a bicycle tour. The answer is to cycle away!
What to do about bears on a bike tour
(Blog post written: Aug 28 2009)
Moving on from Kinaskan in Canada, it was another day of cycling through Canada on my way to the border with the US.
With 120 km's to do, it was always going to be a long day, but actually, it went pretty easily. There were a few climbs but nothing major, although today was bear day.
I had decided to free camp 20 km's short of Bell 2 resort to save some money, and I'd found an ideal spot. Just as I was about to unpack though, a bear wandered into the road, and I found it prudent to move on.
The 20 km's to Bell 2 passed quickly until I was literally 500 metres from the place, where another bear was sitting on the side of the road. There wasn't a lot I could do until he cleared off… apart from taking photographs of course.
Bell 2 in Canada
Don't panic, they were long distance, and I've done my best to blow them up. Eventually I got into Bell 2, and set up out the back. It was a bit pricey for what it was, but of course, bear free.
I got chatting with the girls who worked there, and found a few things out about the area, but more importantly, found out there was a buffet breakfast in the morning between 8 and 10. That was going to get hammered!!!
Do you need a bear canister when cycling in Canada?
So, on a serious note. Is it worth taking a bear canister when bike touring Canada?
While cycling in Canada, it is important to consider the risks of animal encounters. Bears are a reasonably common animal in some areas, particularly in regions with dense forest or mountainous terrain.
Depending on the level of risk and difficulty of the journey, a bear canister may be necessary for storing food, toiletries and other scented items. Packing a canister is a great way to ensure your safety and remain vigilant when exploring Canada's remote regions by bike.
The downside is that it is one more thing to carry. Many official campsites have bear boxes, and when wild camping, it may be just as easy to pack all the scented things like food and toiletries you carry into a bag, and hoist it up a tree using a rope. It's also advisable to cook away from where you sleep!
You can see some bear canisters here on Amazon: Bear Vault
Read more about this bike tour
Use the links below for more blog posts written during this long distance cycling trip:
You might also want to check out:
- Alaska to Argentina bike ride
- Cycling from England to South Africa
- How to cope with being sick when bicycle touring around the world
– Dave Briggs
Dave wrote this travel guide about coping with bears when bikepacking when cycle touring from Alaska to Argentina.
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