Squamish : Solo riding and safety

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Squamish : Solo riding and safety
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Posted: Jun 25, 2019 at 4:15 Quote
As a first-time solo rider in Squamish in September, what should you think about when it comes to safety on the trails?

Obviously start with the easier ones, and work your way up - but for someone not familiar with the area, do you have to worry about wildlife, such as bears?

I hear some guys are carrying "bear spray"? Is this something you would need?

I also read about trails closing in Whistler due to bears in the area - is this common in Squamish as well?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Posted: Jun 27, 2019 at 16:04 Quote
chris4455 wrote:
As a first-time solo rider in Squamish in September, what should you think about when it comes to safety on the trails?

Obviously start with the easier ones, and work your way up - but for someone not familiar with the area, do you have to worry about wildlife, such as bears?

I hear some guys are carrying "bear spray"? Is this something you would need?

I also read about trails closing in Whistler due to bears in the area - is this common in Squamish as well?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Everybody has a bear story for new arrivals to Canada.
Bear spray for Squamish, personally I wouldn't bother - you're mostly " at risk " of meeting black bears, but the noise of you approaching usually scares them off. You can always attach a bear bell to you or your bike to help.
Closing the trails is for human safety and protecting the bears as well.
The only time to be hyper vigilant with black bears is if you see cubs, but no momma bear. Back up out of the area carefully.

The other wildlife you really want to avoid is cougars ( mountain lions ). If there are cougar sightings, areas will be closed and there will be signage to warn you.

Ultimately, if you ride on a weekend, there's plenty of people on the trails, carry a basic first aid kit, a whistle and cell phone, so if the worst happens you can try and attract attention to yourself, or patch yourself up.

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 at 4:12 Quote
benhg wrote:
chris4455 wrote:
As a first-time solo rider in Squamish in September, what should you think about when it comes to safety on the trails?

Obviously start with the easier ones, and work your way up - but for someone not familiar with the area, do you have to worry about wildlife, such as bears?

I hear some guys are carrying "bear spray"? Is this something you would need?

I also read about trails closing in Whistler due to bears in the area - is this common in Squamish as well?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Everybody has a bear story for new arrivals to Canada.
Bear spray for Squamish, personally I wouldn't bother - you're mostly " at risk " of meeting black bears, but the noise of you approaching usually scares them off. You can always attach a bear bell to you or your bike to help.
Closing the trails is for human safety and protecting the bears as well.
The only time to be hyper vigilant with black bears is if you see cubs, but no momma bear. Back up out of the area carefully.

The other wildlife you really want to avoid is cougars ( mountain lions ). If there are cougar sightings, areas will be closed and there will be signage to warn you.

Ultimately, if you ride on a weekend, there's plenty of people on the trails, carry a basic first aid kit, a whistle and cell phone, so if the worst happens you can try and attract attention to yourself, or patch yourself up.

Thanks for your reply! -Good tip about the bell, I'll look for one and bring it along.

About bears on the trails; We do have bears in Sweden as well, I think you could say similar in size to black bears, but most people never spot a bear in the wild unless you really spend a lot of time outdoors. One thing I'm trying to figure out is how often riders in Squamish or surroundings actually get close to bears on trails? Would you say that it's common or rare?

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 at 10:32 Quote
I see bears all the time mostly in Whistler bike park, other trails maybe once in a while. The black bears aren't a problem 99.99% of the time, locals here don't really take any extra precautions you just make noise and bang rocks together if you need to scare them off

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 at 17:01 Quote
kevin267 wrote:
I see bears all the time mostly in Whistler bike park, other trails maybe once in a while. The black bears aren't a problem 99.99% of the time, locals here don't really take any extra precautions you just make noise and bang rocks together if you need to scare them off

I've never seen a bear riding in Squamish - there's a lot of human traffic and logging so generally, unless they can't get something they need further from humans, such as water in low supply, they'll stay away.

Posted: Jun 29, 2019 at 13:36 Quote
benhg wrote:
kevin267 wrote:
I see bears all the time mostly in Whistler bike park, other trails maybe once in a while. The black bears aren't a problem 99.99% of the time, locals here don't really take any extra precautions you just make noise and bang rocks together if you need to scare them off

I've never seen a bear riding in Squamish - there's a lot of human traffic and logging so generally, unless they can't get something they need further from humans, such as water in low supply, they'll stay away.

Thanks, it's great for me to hear about your experiences here.

My final question on this subject is if you think that local riders ever hesitate on solo riding due to bears (and cougars)?

Posted: Jun 29, 2019 at 21:06 Quote
I don't think so. I wouldn't / haven't and would only change my plans if there had been cougar sightings - which are pretty uncommon.
If you ride the alice Lake area, and the more popular trails around garibaldi ( half Nelson, Angry Midget, etc ), you're not venturing that far into the backwoods. Just read up on appropriate behaviour for encounters, but I'll bet you don't see more than a chipmunk.
If you're heading to more remote trails,I'd be more concerned about getting hurt from a fall where there may be no phone signal than the wildlife.

Posted: Jul 1, 2019 at 21:42 Quote
There was a mama bear and three tiny cubs on Rollercoaster last Saturday, around 11 am. So definitely possible to run into bears close to town.
You don't necessarily need to be scared, but just vigilant.

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