Stranger than Fiction - Opinion

Aug 3, 2016
by Mike Levy  
Mike Levy


Spend enough time in the forest and you're bound to see a few things that you'll have trouble explaining. And no, I'm not talking about bikes with batteries on them or certain people insisting that trails be clear of any and all rocks and roots. I'm talking about the really strange things that make you want to ring up Mulder and Scully; the stuff that makes you not want to ride alone, or at least has you questioning what the hell you're doing out there sometimes.


I consider myself extremely lucky to have ridden in some pretty interesting locations all around the world, but one of the weirder rides took place just outside of a private rocket testing facility, one of the few such establishments of its kind on our planet. The nearby trails are not off-limits - I've ridden there many times over the years, as have the locals - but there is certainly a peculiar aura that is unlike any other trail I've ever been on. On one occasion, we shuttled the old road up to where the descent began and dropped in as per usual, only to see a blacked-out and unmarked helicopter come over the ridge and hover curiously close for ten minutes as we made our way down the treeless and wide open cliffside trail. We thought it was a bit odd at the time, but we were also more concerned with the rowdy trail in front of us rather than what we assumed was some sort of aviation tour.

That is until we met up with the driver of the shuttle truck that had been parked near the trail's exit. ''A black suburban with darkly tinted windows pulled up directly behind me after I parked,'' he explained quietly, with it sitting on the side of what was an otherwise completely empty desert road until just before we arrived.

Only recently, a decade after that Men in Black moment in the desert, did I pick up Sonic Wind, a book about the legendary John Paul Stapp and his many rocket sled and ejection seat experiments that took place more than forty years ago inside the fenced off mountain top that the helicopter and suburban were protecting. It's highly likely that they were running security for the supposedly shut down rocket testing site, but it's far more interesting to entertain thoughts of UFOs, government secrets, and agents with neuralizer devices.

I want to believe.


Illustration by Mike Hughes http www.m-hughes.com https www.instagram.com badnewsmikehughes
Illustration by Mike Hughes


While unmarked helicopters are probably an uncommon sight during a mountain bike ride, most of us have probably had some sort of encounter with wildlife, and it's a special moment when you get to see a bear or a few deer nearby. I remember once, many years ago, I was coasting down a trail when, out of nowhere, a deer popped out of the bush and ran only a few feet in front of me and at the same speed. He was probably scared as hell and thinking that I was a strange, noisy animal that wanted to eat him, but it was a pretty special twenty seconds for me that I'll never forget.

There was also this one time that I'm sure something was trying to eat me.

It was about fifteen years ago, and I had driven my poor, old Ford Ranger up to the top of our shuttle road, fully expecting one of my passengers to drive me back up to retrieve it; you know, like how shuttle runs work. I guess the other people didn't know, however, because none of them thought to mention to me that they didn't want to drive their own trucks up this fairly tame 4x4 road in return, so I was left to jog up the last few kilometers when it came time to get my truck later that day.

Now, like most of you, I'm comfortable in the bush, and it didn't even enter my mind that I should be nervous as I shuffled up to my truck in the dusk. This was my 'home mountain' after all. But it was something else's home, too. The first noise sounded like a gorilla running through the bush while having a temper tantrum, and I'd be lying if I said that a small bit of poo didn't squeak out of my ass at that exact moment. I instantly stopped in my tracks and turned around slowly, expecting to be mauled by something hairy and angry and full of teeth. But there was nothing there. It was quiet, too quiet. I slowly walked twenty more feet up the abandoned, nearly grown in logging road and turned around again, just as whatever was in hidden in the trees and darkness decided to make a move. It was quieter this time, but it was also obvious that whatever I heard was now closer than it had been.

I'm not a runner - never have been and never will be - but at that moment, I was more Ben Johnson than Mike Levy. It was at least a five-minute sprint to get to my truck, and I remember stopping briefly to reach down and pick up a pointy rock in a what would have likely been a futile attempt at fighting back. No word of a lie, I heard whatever beast that was following me crash through the bush all the way up until a hundred feet or so from my truck. I had never been so happy to see that beat up Ranger; cue flailing with keys and full-on panic as I jumped into the cab as if the beast was inches away from grabbing my foot. It wasn't - there was nothing to see - but that didn't keep me from holding the horn down for a good thirty seconds.

There is no shame here - I literally thought that I was going to be killed and eaten.

In hindsight, it was probably a scared deer that just happened to be running in the same direction as me. Anything that would truly want to make me dinner would have likely been much quieter... unless it was Bigfoot. It was definitely Bigfoot. Being the stubborn idiot that I am, I made myself walk up the same abandoned logging road in similar darkness only a few days later, just to prove to myself that I could do it. I never said that I'm smart.


Illustration by Mike Hughes http www.m-hughes.com https www.instagram.com badnewsmikehughes
Illustration by Mike Hughes


I have to laugh at myself when I remember how panicked I was at the time, but I've also seen some sad things while out on my mountain bike.

A group of us were shuttling on the same mountain, about a year after that Bigfoot incident, and while driving up the steep logging road another truck came down at the kind of speed that immediately had us thinking that it was stolen, or that there was an emergency of some sort. Unfortunately, it was the latter. They stopped us and, with eyes as wide as dinner plates, explained how they had been doing some 4x4'ing and that their friend had driven off the side of the road, rolling his truck down the embankment. There was definitely booze in the air while they told us this, and they weren't clear about what kind of shape their friend was in, only that he was still up there and that they were going down to get help.

It took about twenty minutes for us to find him, about fifty feet down the embankment, and we only managed to because his upside down truck was still running and the stereo was blasting out music. I'll never hear any Bruce Springsteen song again without picturing that poor guy with his neck trapped under the roll bar, something that had surely killed him near instantly. There was nothing to do but turn his vehicle off.

I think there were six of us out that day; we didn't stop once, and not a single word was spoken during the thirty-minute ride back down to the bottom of the mountain.

I had my own Final Destination moment not that long ago, one that ranks at the top of my 'What the f*ck?' list and still gives me goosebumps to this day. It happened on the same mountain as the other two incidents, which might be a sign that I'll probably continue to ignore. I was out with my dog, a Shiba Inu who takes the prize for the laziest, most indifferent animal that's ever lived, a canine that does everything in her power to not move any quicker than an unenthusiastic walking pace. We were making our way down one of my favorite trails when I heard what could only be described as the world coming to an end behind me. I actually thought that I was about to be swallowed by a massive landslide and that no one would ever find my body. I was so petrified that I completely tensed up and coasted right off the trail and through the underbrush at a fast enough speed that I don't know how I didn't tomahawk through the trees, but I assumed that my life might come to an abrupt end if I didn't get away from the freight trail-like noise coming up behind me.

But the noise stopped as quickly as it came, lasting maybe ten seconds but feeling like ten minutes at the time. I was alive and not buried, but my dog, who a bit behind me when it all started, was nowhere to be seen for another thirty seconds or so, until she bolted past me at a speed that I have never seen her moving at before or since. It was like she was a greyhound in the body of a slightly pudgy, twenty-five pound Shiba Inu who was covered in dirt and leaves and running for her life. That's because she was. She trucked past me and ran out of sight like I didn't exist, but I walked back up the trail tentatively, still expecting to see a slide or... I don't know, Bigfoot?

What I saw was a tree, maybe eighty-feet tall, laying across the singletrack at a ninety-degree angle. It was easily large enough to have killed me, although it was obviously much closer to killing my dog, and it had fallen onto the trail mere seconds after I passed by. If I had started my ride five seconds later or had been just a bit slower at any point, I have no doubt that tree would have squashed me like a bug. To this day, people roll their eyes when I tell them how close it was, and I don't blame them - it sounds stranger than fiction.


Have you ever had your own X-Files moment while mountain biking?


Illustrations by Mike Hughes / www.m-hughes.com / www.instagram.com/badnewsmikehughes


Posted In:
Stories Mike Levy



151 Comments

  • 67 1
 It's sort of funny when looking back, but we've all probably had a "moment" when something unexplainable or uncomfortable occurred that magically transformed us into Usain Bolt in order to haul some serious ass. We never realized we could run so fast until we really had to. I suppose it's a gift, that fight-or-flight response, even if it does get the best of us from time to time.

It's during those times though, like at a rest spot during a distant night ride when the bushes rustle and the hairs on your neck stand straight up, that you really do feel alive. Some think we're crazy to ride alone or ride in bear country, but for us, it's what we live for. To feel alive.

Mike, I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say that we're glad the tree missed you. Keep these great stories coming.
  • 30 1
 I got caught at the top of a trail once when a nasty storm rolled in out of nowhere. Now this is odd, because in the mountains of Colorado, you typically see the storms coming from a long ways off. Except this time. It was a typical Front Range evening after-work ride, you know, the one that starts with a massive slog of a climb in the heat up and up until you get to the top. These typically end in some phenomenal views in the twilight hour as the sun starts to set behind the mountains, followed by a fast and fun descent back to the car. Except this time. When we got to the top, we had mere moments to enjoy it. The skies went from bright and sunny to dark and foreboding within minutes. We were soon greeted by gale-force winds and torrential downpour. We knew we had to get down fast and we began to book down the trail. And then the lightning started. I'm not talking about the kind of lightning that flashes in the distance and then you hear the rumble of thunder several moments later. This was flashing around us so brightly that I would have been blinded if not for the prescription sunglasses I was still wearing. Flash, BOOM! Flash, BOOM! Flash, BOOM! The thunder was sounding off less than a second after the flashes of lightning. Every hair on my body was standing upright. You could feel the electric charge in the air. Not good. I pedaled my ass off and bombed as fast as I could go. Now this trail has those large rocky sections that typically are ultra grippy under our normal dry conditions. These same rocks turn into watery, slippery, death slides when wet. As a river of water swept down the trail, I tried futilely to maintain traction as I slipped and slid around the corners and down the rocks. I don't know how I stayed upright. But I did. I rode faster and more at the edge of control than I can ever remember riding. I felt like Danny Hart in the muddy 2011 World Champs, somehow just barely hanging on. It was still one of the most scary, yet most exhilarating rides I have ever been on. It's in those moments where you really feel alive. We got back to the vehicles and every rider was accounted for, all with similar stories near wash-outs and narrow misses. Soaking and laughing and free from immediate lightning danger, we stood in the rain sharing beers and tales. Most of these contained a fair bit of valor and a probably a large share of luck.
  • 5 0
 @BaeckerX1: Great post and well-written. It took me back to a similar moment on Mt. Falcon 2 years ago. I've packed a rain jacket in my bag and towels in my car ever since...
  • 5 0
 @ryan83: Thanks. Glad you can relate. This post did have paragraphs and line breaks, but the website formatting appears to have robbed them. It also bothers me that I can no longer fix my typos. Smile
  • 2 0
 @BaeckerX1: Heil and Hall, especially Heil where your slugging away in the trees after leaving sunshine only to come to a break in the trees and very loud dark skies break loose. Like @ryan83 said, nice write up!
  • 3 0
 @BaeckerX1: About a month ago riding alone on the nearby Mack Ridge trail during a light rain there was a lightning strike about 150 yards ahead of me on the top of the ridge; flash and simultaneous explosion of thunder. I took cover for about 20 minutes as the storm passed. It was the only strike.
Riding on I could smell the burning rock (like when you hit rocks with a hammer and it sparks, or crushed in a rock crusher). I don't take cover often this scared the f*ck out of me. I've had other close calls, and have witnessed two climbers killed by lightning. Best to be smart.
Next time I ride Mack ridge I'm going to go back to the site, and see if I can find a Fulgurite
  • 2 0
 One time I ran into this guy in the middle of the woods.... It was weird.

youtu.be/W7FvuiKvUYA
  • 1 0
 I was doing a demo ride in Niciene Marks when the Santa Cruz Bicycle Festival was still a thing, I had never ridden there. Shit you not I came flying down a hill and at the bottom was a full blown witch circle doing some sort of ritual. They had these crazy colored robes. They were standing in a huge circle inside a circle of redwoods, and there were 2 really huge dudes in suits standing guard. I high tailed it out of there, but because I was unfamiliar with the area, I ended up circling back right to them. Not under the influence, I was 16, it was the middle of the day. Never have I been more weirded out and never have I ridden faster than when I did after taking off the second time.
  • 62 0
 Was on Dartmoor once ridding by myself. Stopped for some grub. On the opposite hill side, there was a group of brown cows and a group of black cows. Suddenly they formed into perfectly symetrical arrowheads and charged each other. The weirdest thing and of course I was by myself so no one believed me.
  • 14 0
 This is the greatest thing I have ever pictured in my mind. Thank you for that.
  • 8 0
 He forgot to mention , the grub was a bag of shrooms !
  • 59 1
 Years ago, solo trailbuilding on a misty, gloomy day. I suddenly smell that deep musty odour of a wild animal. Not sure what it was, but the scent was strong so I knew it was close. I look around, it was deathly quiet. I grab my shovel and clang it against some rocks...nothing, still quiet. I fire up the chainsaw, rev it up and waive it around like Leatherface. I never did see what it was, never heard a thing. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could, it was the scariest 45 minute hike out of the bush that I've ever done.
  • 51 0
 Sometimes you just know that shit ain't right.
  • 32 0
 @mikelevy: @dave-m: Eerily similar to both of you....

Hiking on Hyou-no-zan on the border of Hyogo and Tottori some 15 or more so years near the summit after a 90 minute hike up from the ranger station.

There was this noise, suddenly, from the right side of the trail coming from shoulder-high bamboo grass/thickets. And it indicated a substantial amount of body-mass crashing through the undergrowth.
I stopped dead in my tracks.
So did it.
I waited for I have no idea how long; was it a matter of tens of seconds or minutes? No idea.
I took one, very, very tentative step...and the remains of a leaf from the previous fall broke into a myriad of powdery pieces under my sole with a very low volume, yet distinct 'crush'...

At which point the whatever it was decided it was a good time to continue its thunderous journey through the undergrowth next to me....only this time at a much faster rate....

....and emerging some 8 to 10 meters away on the trail in front of me ...was an adult Japanese Black Bear.

"Jesus...it's a bear" was all my non-moving lips could whisper. And I became aware of the maelstrom of thoughts careering around my tepid mind.

It was looking over its shoulder, directly at me, now frozen and silent, in the middle of the trail ahead.

My feelings were by now an unusual mix of absolute wonderment; of feeling like the most gifted soul in the known universe; to have been presented with a face to face opportunity to meet and share a very deep and extended stare with one of the most beautifully glossy creatures I have ever seen, and sheer, petrifyingly silent panic.

We continued to stare at each other for seconds/minutes/hours..... and I remember thinking this could turn out less than well, when he or she decided they had had enough, and slank off into the undergrowth on the left, leaving me to turn tail and walk rather briskly back down to the ranger's station and fill in one of the very efficient looking bear reports in the office.
  • 47 0
 Sounds like the night I met my wife. #musky
  • 5 0
 @orientdave: "...and when he stared accross the river into my eyes, it made me shiver. And then I knew that it was lovely, to have a black bear thinking of me.." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwN2cwBHF_8
  • 3 0
 Brown bears smell like dead meat and shit. My experiences in south east Alaska when you smell that they are about 30 feet away. I just got scared all over again.
  • 2 0
 @thrice: That made my day right there... cheers!
  • 2 0
 What time of year was it? In the fall when moose are in rut, the males will pee all over themselves to get a musky smell that will attract females. Bears almost always have a musky scent, especially grizzlies. Had a weird one the other day while building. Something large was crashing into trees quite rhythmically & close to where I was. As soon as I started making more noise the sounds started to fade going up the hill. Moose or elk rubbing their antlers? I'm quite fortunate to live where I do, I get to see some pretty cool stuff, very rarely do I fear for my safety (other than self induced idiot moments). Most wildlife are curious about what we are or are doing or give us a very wide berth, if they truly wanted to make us part of their diet there would be a lot less bikers around. It is unnerving though to be alone in the middle of the bush & hear unfamiliar sounds, it brings into perspective where we really sit in the food chain.
  • 1 0
 @wideload46: no moose or grizzlies around these parts, I'm guessing it was a bear, cougar or just a deer. Whatever it was, likely just curious trying to figure out what I was
  • 57 0
 Not scary but funny as hell was when I came round a blind bend and a sheep had escaped it's field and was stood in the middle of the trail. I hit the sheep, went OTB and basically ended up in a pile tangled up with the sheep. It was so stunned it didn't bolt straight away so I had a surreal moment laid in the undergrowth cuddling a sheep haha.
  • 45 0
 Go on......
  • 11 0
 You're not welsh are you? Wink
  • 28 0
 ... fast forward 10 yearsr, and a curly-headed kid shows up asking if I am his daaaaaddy . . .
  • 2 0
 @sam264: I will give you the welsh version Sam. Commuting to work on a cycle path and as I round the bend theres about 15 sheep standing on the path in front of me. I keep racing towards them and they just look at me. I expect them to dart for the hedgerow but instead they turn and race off in front of me down the path. Imagine the scene, me on a bike and yards in front of me 15 sheep running the same route. At this rate I was going to herd them right into the company car park. They turned off after a couple of hundred yards but it did make me think of Wallace and Grommit. By the way, there was no shagging.
  • 2 0
 @Norski:
Haha excellent. Sheep are a constant peril on my local trails!
  • 2 0
 @sam264: Yes, we've been happily married for 5 years now....................................
  • 36 0
 Myself and three other good mates (saved my life after this event in the same woods - but that's another story) were digging in some woods down the side of Salisbury plain, for those outside of the UK, Salisbury Plain is the largest live firing and military maneuvers area in the UK.

We'd been building trails here for a long time and it was an area that was used by loads of people, from dog walkers to 4X4 ers and everyone in between. we had never had any trouble with the military, but had plenty of times met soldiers on the trails on exercise and had even seen a chinook land at the bottom of our DH run with guys throwing them selves out firing full circle (blanks) - it was pretty cool to watch.

This day we were building a large new berm, i was picking a hole for fresh dirt, a fair way down my pick 'clunks' against something metal - now this didn't phase me as we regularly found ammo crates with blanks and smoke grenades - so i continue to dig ecited that it might be some more smoke grenades to play with...it was not!

What was unearthed was an anti tank mine!

As with your story Mike we ran so fast, back down to our cars, bikes and tools still were they were next to the part built berm and tank mine. We caught our breath and senses over 10-15 minutes and the statement "you smashed it pretty hard with the pick, if it was going to go off - we'd be dead" rang out so we slowly made our way back to reclaim our bikes and tools. feeling brave i cleaned the sides of the mine away from the thick clay to reveal the a model number (escapes me now) and the words "Soviet anti vehicle" but more importantly the word "dummy"

The laughs were hysterical as relief set in and adrenaline flooded out! we then did what any self respecting teenager would do, rubbed off the word "dummy" and part buried it in (but in plain view) one of the 4X4 tracks as these guys used to be our nemesis in these woods.

Good times

@premiumcuts
  • 1 0
 Skills!
  • 2 0
 That is an amazing story! Thanks for that Smile
  • 36 0
 My strangest encounter: we came around a corner on a trail in Squamish and saw 2 guys strolling naked through the woods. They were as surprised to see us as we were to see them.
  • 32 0
 Not really adrenaline inducing, but I had stopped to patch a flat tire and was about 4 or 5 miles from the trail head on the return side of a large loop. I heard some crunching coming down the hill and assumed it was a squirrel. The longer I sat there the closer the noise got until finally it was close enough that it diverted my attention away from my tire. I was being stalked by a Rooster. Why or how the hell that bird got that far out into the woods will always bewilder me, but he was nice enough to let me pet him and he went about his business.
  • 5 0
 Nice cock huh
  • 9 1
 Nothing like stroking a bit of cock!
  • 27 1
 Last year during the massive 8.0 earthquake that hit nepal. Two of my friends and i were out on a ride. I remember my knees trembling as i saw houses on the opposite hill to us decimated and dust billowing from them like they had just been shelled by artillery. The ground cracking in front of us. People screaming. Violeny shaking continously for a minute intially and major after shocks on the way back home which was a two hour ride. Boodies being pulled out of rubble. Injured people bleeding on the side of the road. Houses collasped. Landslides. I thought the world was ending.
  • 24 0
 @mikelevy Pinkbike could use so much more of this type of content celebrating the heart of MTB more than the industry!

When I first started riding at around 13 back in '94, my friend and I were riding up a dirt road and a cadre of police trucks overtook and passed us. When we reached the top of the hill we found them investigating the site of an accident where a jeep had rolled down the mountain the day before. I still remember watching them put a piece of flesh in a plastic baggy.

I've startled and matched a group of deer in speed and direction for a few seconds on a snowboard, and that was actually one of the coolest experiences of my life. On the bike, rounding a corner to come face to face with a moose was one of the scariest.

Seen a lot over the years, but this probably the strangest:
m.youtube.com/watch?v=J0i9agL9ius
  • 5 0
 that lizard thing is so strange. Glad I watched it tho Big Grin
  • 3 0
 I was riding a downhill trail in Fernie a few years back with a girlfriend. She was ahead of me, and fairly flying, and a moose erupted out of the undergrowth right next to the trail. If it had cut across the trail she'd have slammed right into it ... thankfully it reared up and then bolted away. She needed a few minutes to calm down after that.
  • 1 0
 Never had the pleasure, but I hear mooses are one animal you just do not f*ck with. apparently one of the more common animals to get injured by, because people try to go pet them, & they're just angry bastards.
  • 3 0
 @Pikasam: moose are highly underrated as an animal you do not want to cross paths with.
  • 1 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: I consider myself fortunate as I met up with a moose just last night. She had a calf at her side. Thankfully she decided to run rather than get defensive. Cool to see up close but it could have ended badly.
  • 21 1
 I discovered a young couple fucking in the woods recently. In fact I helped them film their first sex tape. Of course, they didn't know that...
  • 3 0
 Somehow that comes off as creepy
  • 1 0
 Ahahahahaha
  • 17 0
 I've had plenty of strange experiences myself, but going to recount a friend's humorous story...

He was out doing night-time trail work, with riding light and head and chainsaw. He noticed a group of lights in the distance and got spooked. Got down out of sight and turned his light off, then realizes to himself... "Wait, I'm the guy with the chainsaw in the woods in the middle of the night!"

He was likely the freaky end of another groups' stories.
  • 1 0
 Bwahahahahah! Indeed.
  • 17 0
 Love the article. One of the most memorable and funny moments whilst riding in Ecuador was with friends bombing down a fire road on the infamous Infiernillo ride. One of my friends ahead of me stopped abruptly shouting and holding his head, shaking it wildly. He kept screaming that something was inside his head! The rest of us just looked and each other like "WTF?" He then began to gag quite violently and loose his balance. I got quite worried when he picked up a stick with the intention of pocking his ear with it. I was able to stop him and offered to have a look (inside ear) with a torch. He was in pretty bad shape by then and restless, even screaming. When I shone the light to his ear I couldn't really see anything unusual, but right before I stopped I saw to very small black thingies come out moving from side to side. Again I said WTF!! A few seconds later a wasp walked out of my buddies ear and flew off. He felt instant relief, and the rest of us just laughed are heads off. The poor insect must of crashed into his ear and thought the way out was going in!! deep into his ear. The light showed it the way out. jajajaja
  • 12 0
 This is definitely the worst thing on this article by far!
  • 5 0
 I'd be wearing earplugs 24/7 if that happened to me!
  • 14 1
 Mike, we were driving out fog Fort William BDS, on road outside and I spotted a bright white light over the hills. 5 of us in that car and I said what on earth is that as it disappeared over the hill. Next second, the car in front on a perfectly straight road veered off and crashed into the field. We helped the lady out, she had no idea why she crashed, she just veered off in the direction of that light. 100% true.
  • 14 1
 I broke the Land Speed Record on foot when I was out running once. I was being chased by roughly thirty Badgers, but like, bigger than normal Badgers. Nobody else was there and I didn't actually see them but it definitely happened.
  • 12 0
 While doing some trailbuilding with friends, one of us found a girl under a bush that ingurgitated pills and stuff to attempt suicide. The paramedics doubted that would have her killed, but she was hidden, in a relatively remote area and in a suicidal mood so having found her was definitely a good thing for her.
  • 2 0
 Wow. That's intense. Hope she got the help she needed because of you.
  • 11 0
 On an early morning ride in Sedona I heard a crashing in the bushes to one side. A large stag emerged coming right at me, it was kicking and bucking and generally going nuts. I was absolutely sure that it was going to attack me, when it got about 6' away and there were no more trees between us, I realized it was being attacked by the 3 biggest coyotes I have ever seen. I didn't know that coyotes would try and take down an animal this big and just stopped and stared at the whole scene. I thought I should get my phone out and video this, I then thought that stag is better able to defend itself than me and those coyotes are about 4' away now. I promptly got the f*ck out of there at speed. Left me feeling weird for quite a while after, awesome ride.
  • 10 0
 Over the years I have had a bunch of unexplainable as well as wild natural experiences in the woods. The best natural experiences were when I almost crashed into a black bear at high speed on my dirtbike and having the awesome experience of riding alongside 2 grey wolves for about an 1/8 mile.
For the unexplainable, I have to preface by saying I live in a well documented area of supernatural experiences. The highest number of UFO sightings in the world are here. Plus all sorts of reports of strange lights and beings in the mountains here. The Native Americans called it this place the home of the trickster, a shape shifting being. It also happens to have great riding. Well one day I was deep into the forest cutting new trail alone. I normally have my big 120 lb dog with me but the day before he got covered in ticks. So this day I left him home. I was deep in the zone of creating some sick flow when I heard deep, deep baritone growling. I felt it in my chest more than heard it. Whatever was making it was really big. Bigger than any animal in these woods. I jumped out of my trail building trance and looked around. I suddenly did not feel alone. I felt like I was being watched. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw a very tall animal moving very quickly and disappeared behind some boulders 50 yards away. I mean like 10 feet tall. I was cutting trail with a machete and hatchet. I am good with my hands and can protect myself. Regardless, I spoked and ran like a little girl 5 miles to the nearest road. I did finish the trail a few weeks later armed with a machete and 357 magnum, and my big ass dog. But I won’t ride it alone.
  • 4 0
 My arse would be flapping like a letter box in the wind. Its the unknown creature stories that freak me out on here. There is no way I would have gone back even with the 357.
  • 9 0
 I was riding a local trail alone when just after a high speed turn there was this very large tree branch laying across the path. I almost crashed, but managed to bunny hop over the thing and stopped, very scared. I went back to clear the trail and then realized it was not a tree branch at all. It was a Jiboia, which is a very big and dangerous anaconda type snake. I chased the thing away from a safe distance and took off quite relieved,
  • 2 0
 That's a hell to the no "shudder"
  • 2 0
 What is it about snakes that they just want to lay across trails like branches? Had to bunnyhop my fair share of them and each and every time they are the biggest and meanest rattlesnake alive(in my mind)...until I stop and go back to scoot them off the trail and it is a gopher snake or king snake and only sometimes a small rattler. No Jiboia in socal thankfully.
  • 4 0
 @bikesoverbritches: Plenty of jiboias here in Brazil´s rain forests. They don´t like mountain bikes, so generally keep away from our trails, but now and then they crosss our paths. Jiboias are really slow and lazy, but if they manage to grab you, thay will brake every bone in your body and eat you alive.
  • 3 0
 @bikesoverbritches: Where I come from it is not unusual to find snakes, I see about 5 or so every summer on my local trails, but unfortunately, around me, there are no nice snakes, when you see one, you know it is either a Brown snake (2nd most venomous snake, will kill you if it bites) or a tiger snake (again, extremely venomous, and will kill you if it bites. Causes paralysis, so if you're alone, you better know where you are and have a phone at the ready).

Never fun when you hit one or have to bunny hop them, and for some reason they particularly like lying across blind corners...
  • 7 0
 Not stranger than fiction, but it was definitely a hair raising moment for me this past fall. I was out exploring Red mtn for the first time, and riding solo. Up near Mastadon I had a feeling like I was being watched. No noises or cracking in the bushes and I kept turning around to see nothing. Got to the downhill and wasted no time getting sorted and heading down the trail as fast as I could... A few weeks later on another local mtb forum I read there had been a couple encounters with cougars and there's an active den in the area! I'm positive I was being sized up by one of them. Many many solo rides, including at night and I've never felt anything like that before.
  • 4 0
 I know and love that trail, and the forest up there can be spooky. I ride alone quite a bit and always wonder how many times a cat has been watching me.
  • 6 0
 Was up on the Seven Summits trail a morning after the first snowfall of the year. And followed cougar tracks for over half of the "bike" trail.
  • 2 0
 Mastodon!!! Now thats some good shit! This year a few guys were riding Red and encountered 2 Cougars.. They were unafraid and took a shitload of effort to scare off. Yipes!
  • 2 0
 Yes that was definitely a sweet trail! The cougar run in potential on our beloved locals is always in the back of my mind. Hopefully I can keep cool if the day comes like bear run ins!
  • 3 0
 about 6 weeks i was hiking up a trail that i had found in the forest next to my house the forest is a tad bit creepy but i have lots of bush experience as i neared the top of the trail i just happened to turn around and there was a cougar about 50 ft behind me i instantly dropped my bike and pulled out my bear maced and shot some off the cougar was pissed and took off thru the bush i havent been back there to ride. and im not a small guy either both me and my dad are avid hunters and you barely ever see them unless they want you too it baffled both of us
  • 8 1
 Great piece Mike,

I've go a strange one...all of this happened in one ride.

I had spent a few months nursing my wife who was out with a debilitating back injury and was looking at having spinal surgery. Not super bad, just to trim some disc etc.... Still, kinda scary her and I couldn't help but worry.

One of the best remedies for anything, including worry is a nice ride. Off I went on my local trail.
About 30 minutes in, the trail takes you past the back of a rehab hospital and I need to check some bike issues and hydrate. I happen to stop by a nice lady in a wheelchair. She tells me that she was a nurse up till very recently and had (you guessed it) a back injury that required surgery and now she was partially paralyzed, her kids didn't visit, failing health, you name it. I felt very badly for her but also a bit freaked for my wife.

Ride 5 more minutes and drop down into a chute. Almost at the bottom a woman jumps out and screams for me to stop! A deer had been hit by a car on the roadway above and had apparently crawled/tumbled down to the bottom where it lay with broken legs and broken back. It struggled to cling to life and it's every breath was getting more shallow. This suffering was extremely tough to watch for me and luckily the woman and her mate told me that the sirens I was hearing was because they had called 911. I was happy to move along though a bit uneasy.
I continued along my ride for another 7 or 8 minutes, up a climb that brought me out to the edge of a big municipal park and the trail continued around the perimeter for another couple of minutes. The trail the drops back away from the park and into a ravine. The sirens were still wailing and echoing through the area. Just as I turned into the woods I saw a picnic cooler and a fallen step ladder. This seemed odd but then the full realization of what I was looking at hit me when I saw the man hanging by his neck in the tree.
I couldn't help myself and started to choke up and fight back tears. I felt myself backing up back to the clearing and then I saw another rider off his bike waking toward the scene. Ah...the sirens...he had made the same discovery before me and called 911.

I took the short way straight home. That ride had been long enough.
  • 6 0
 In Auckland we have a trail center called Woodhill Bike Park. Over the years it has evolved and changed somewhat, but up until recently (damn you commercial logging industry!) there was a section of trail known only as "old woodhill" as that's exactly what it was; old school cross country trails remnant from when the park was first created.

When I was getting into Mountain Biking, my parents used to take me out to "OId Woodhill" to go ride as it was quiter with some flat trails as well as technical stuff. But there was one trail we would hardly ever go near. My mum hated it. The trail itself was quite cool, having some rooty turns downhill, but at the start of the trail. However, it also had a "decoration" of some sorts that someone had left there. It looked like a windchime of some description, made of mangled bike parts. It used to creep the shit out of my mum as it reminded her too much of the blair witch project....
  • 2 0
 I have ridden the Waikato River Trail solo once(and will ride it again soon), there are certainly parts of the route that doesn't feel right, the track gets too quiet, too humid, and have the kind of feeling you're being watched. I't made me pedal harder and just look straight at the track and not a glance on the sides.
  • 6 0
 I was out solo riding a pretty tame local trail, sort of flat and technical. I was flying along a relatively straight section when I noticed a small white animal ahead, it was a an albino squirrel and I thought it would just jump up a tree. Instead it started to run along the trail in the same direction as me. It was turning its head towards me as I caught it up. Instead of jumping into the bushes it leapt at me and the bike and somehow made it through a gap and went into the bushes on the other side. Even since then I've had nightmares about the glaring red eyes of the white psycho squirrel of Bedgebury....
  • 3 0
 This is why I am always cautious around squirrels.
  • 3 0
 "The most foul, cruel and bad tempered rodent ye ever laid eyes on!"
  • 2 0
 night riding at Bedgebury is a scary one. just look up the Bedgbury murderer and riding on your own on that single track will never be the same again. Smile
  • 1 0
 @doek: Isn't that just members of the 80s pop acts who perform there and who get lost in the dark and never make it out?
I'm sure I nearly rear ended a member of wham staggering down the trail one night.
  • 5 0
 Mike- do you think it really was Sasquatch? This story is fascinating to me man.....great read, I'm sorry you had to witness that accident, and happy you are alive from the fallen tree....keep the blogs/stories coming brother, excellent stuff.
  • 7 0
 No, I don't believe it was a Sasquatch, but that would be neat. However, I did see something in the forest while hiking when I was a kid that could have been one, and it was in an area that's famous for Sasquatch sightings going way back to the indigenous people that used to live there. Then again, kids have great imaginations.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: That'll get the on adrenaline flowing, i was at silverstar last year and came 3 feet from taking a small bear off the trail ,although im sure i would be the one paying for it ,luckily it saw me and the last second and jumped up a tree , anothertime i was at Harper mountain with my sister (who doesn't ride often ) a momma and 2 cubs ran right in between us and my sister got so spooked she almost crashed , i was quite a ways ahead of her but she screamed and i turned around and saw the cubs walking away, while the big momma just stopped and watched my sister slowly and sketchily ride away. fun stuff
  • 8 0
 It was 100%, without a doubt, a Sasquatch...
Maybe.

I want to believe.
  • 5 0
 Samsquanches. Those fuckers are real, Ricky.
  • 3 0
 @groghunter: nah it's just Sam the caveman or Steve French string out on weed
  • 6 0
 Some friends of mine on a night ride came round a corner to be confronted by about 6 guys in a daisy chain. Fair enough if that's your thing, but more effective than EPO for making you pedal like a madman if it isn't!
  • 5 0
 I do a lot of riding and running at night (father of 2 under 2 years old). One night I was running up a gravel road that borders a golf course on one side and a line of old oaks on the other. No light but enough moon for me to see my way. I felt something scrape across the top of my scalp like a very hard comb with very large teeth. Confused, I looked up and ahead and saw the large wing span of an owl. It was completely silent while in flight. She landed on a tree ahead of me and stared straight at me. This all happened in seconds and I did not get out an adrenaline laced holler until she was staring me down. The next mile was the fastest of the entire run.
  • 2 0
 I've encountered owls on night runs here in Arizona. Silent and scary!
  • 1 0
 I worked with a guy who often rode a local trail, famous for having an hawks nest on it. The hawks tended to get a little protective in the spring, and would swoop on bikers from above. One day they took a friend who had never ridden that trail before, and put him in the front of the pack heading uphill. Dude had almost made it to the top when he got dive-bombed. He dropped his bike, screamed like a girl and took off running, yelling and thrashing his arms ... while the rest of the crew almost peed their pants laughing.
  • 5 0
 Riding through woods heading towards Epping Forest I hit a clearing to find two guys at it in the sunshine, they froze in surprise but I waved and bid them a good morning as I passed so they just got straight back down to business. I found a new route to the forest after that, no need to interrupt them again haha.
  • 5 0
 I was night riding in Marin and in the early spring there's a ton of bats out. Kinda a nuisance bc they shoot down the singletrack and get really close. I'm cruising a nice trail and next thing I know one flew into my wide open mouth. My eyes went wide as I tried to process what was going on. I could feel the soft hairs on its head and back on my mouth. It moved around a bit and then jumped off and was gone. Finished the ride with my mouth firmly closed. Not scary or eery but definitely unique.
  • 4 0
 We don't get much wildlife more frightening than a badger in my parts, so I've got even less excuses to run away with my tail between my legs. My moment was at a little trailcentre called Coed Trallwm in Wales, February 2015. Arrive mid morning, mist in the air. Get onto one of the logging track climbs and there, sitting in the middle of the track staring at me, is a lamb's head. It can't have been more than a week or two old, the head was barely six inches long. And it hasn't been gnawed at, it's not a skull, it's like someone beheaded a lamb in a ritualistic sacrifice and left it as an offering to the trail gods. Unnerved me too much to stop for a picture but I'll never forget that sight.
  • 5 1
 Once I rode a trail, took a sharp slow left into a 10m straight climb through the bushes, as I rode out of them, I looked left and my brain did this within a second or two: oh a moose, yes, eats some branches, just a meter from me. Oh wow, I mean, why wow? Off course, iI'm in the woods, that's perfectly normal, where else would a moose be. A mooooose, two meters from you, pedal you fkng idiooooot!!!!!
  • 3 0
 Earlier this year while riding solo in the himalayan foothills of india i got a flat just before a secluded jungle trail began. Two men herding animals came up to help me fix my flat. They were curious about my bike cause they had never seen a proper mountain bike. But they also warned me there was a few leopards in the area and one had killed a girl walking home from school. And aslo mentioned that villagers believed that road was haunted. And apparently a few army guys on patrol had been spooked onr night by something. So with this in the back of mind i headed apphrensively down the trail. Now this place was spooky. Eerily quiet and dark even during the day. Graves littered all along the road. Just my luck another flat. Looked at my tube it was almost unrepairable. Soon as i had it fixed it would leak air again. Patches ran out and i only had duct tape so i used that. Somehow it held air for a bit but slowly it was leaking. By this point it was getting dark and weird noises were coming from the woods. I didnt even look and hightailed it outta there the fastest i had ever ridden a trail. My wheel was sliding around everywhere because of the lack of air and i almost riding on the rims. Now this trail was steep and technical in bits with leaves covering the ground with absolutely no traction. It got dark by this point i was riding the rim and to my relief finally saw a major road in yhe distance. NEVER GONNA RIDE SOLO AGAIN IN UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY.
  • 4 1
 I used to live in Cologne, Germany. There is a park, fairly central, with some woods and little trails. I was just getting into Mountainbiking and keen to discover new local trails, and I'd never heard of these before. I thought I might be on to something here, so I decided to follow one of these trails. Big huge mistake!!!! I won't go into details what I saw there, but I'll tell you that I've never sprinted so fast in all my life!!! . To give you a clue, Cologne is the gay capital of Germany, and those woods in that park is gay mecca. I'm not a homophobe, but I just did not see that coming!
  • 3 0
 When I was a kid I was alone charging around the bush on my bike just before dark and I came into a little clearing and there was probably about 20 kangaroos all standing there staring at me. Sure kangaroos aren't aggressive but they can get really big and scary looking so I was frozen stuff untill one of them spooked and they all bolted, so did I as fast as my little legs could go! And recently I got to the top of a trail to find a guy just sitting there butt naked... Pretty awkward cos he didn't move while I got ready to to descend..
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy Sounds like your flying monkey experience was in line with the many I've had over the years. For a defunct facility, there's something that's still not quite right about that place. That mesa gets even weirder at night
  • 3 0
 Riding in Hong Kong I once heard the sound of my mates bike crashing behind me. I rode back and he told me he had watched me run over a snake (I never noticed), then he also ran over It but somehow it got thrown up and caught into his frame, he said he was freewheeling along staring down at this black and white snake tangled in his frame for a moment when he suddenly realised "Shit, this thing might bite me!" ...and promptly abandoned himself off the back of the bike! Fortunately for him he did, as the snake was the agressive and highly venomous Many-Banded Krait.
  • 7 1
 Only doggers,cottagers an prostitutes
  • 2 0
 Not scary,.. but a "moment"

I was alone at my local forest....head down and puffing up the hill thinking about which trail I'd take coming down...for no reason at all, I raised my head and looked right....there standing in a clearing was this little dear....I began to grin like a cheshire cat and said "hello"
She locked her gaze on me and for a moment it felt like there was a connection, a truly wonderful moment.

Mike levy , loved the read, a rollercoaster of a story.
My breakfast is always complete when your posts pop up, thanks and keep them coming
  • 2 0
 Night riding by myself. Got a flat then when I took my bag off managed to disconnect my light battery cable plunging myself into the dark. While fumbling about I heard rustling. Living in the UK there isn't really anything likely to want to go for me but at night your imagination runs wild. Got the light connected and could see nothing. When I rode off I had a dear bolt across in front of me which is what was rustling all along.....i think.
  • 2 0
 I was riding a local trail in Molista a couple of months ago.

www.trailforks.com/trails/st-haralambos

Within the trail there is an old stone bridge and right after the bridge I encountered a fallen tree.
I stopped to pick up my bike and climb above the fallen tree and as soon as I did and started to ride again I heard a loud squeaking scream few meters on my left side and a very solid sound of clatter like a flow of something was marching my way.

It turned out to be a wild boar being as surprised as I was and running away from me.
  • 2 0
 Nothing great to tell here. My friend ran over a Timber rattler at Alegrippis. I stopped to make sure it was OK. It was. Just a bit annoyed at being run over. He posed for me. Got a great pic of him all reared back and coiled up tail rattling away. I stayed just outside his reach to take the pic. I told him to have a good day and to stop sunning himself on the trail during a Mtb festival then went on my way.
  • 1 0
 I did that recently, except mine went "im sorry mr. coiled rattler, i didnt mean to ride your trail. have a good day sir!"
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy what a great article! Certainly some cool stuff in the woods. My moment was riding Kingdom Trails in Vermont when we rounded a corner and spooked a big bull moose.He took off straight through whatever was in his way (sapplings, logs, etc) and that's when I realized how powerful those things are... glad he didn't come our direction!
  • 2 0
 ive been buzzed by vultures on the island.
I used to have bears all around me on one trail i workrd on.
Strangest would be a coyote that bust out in front of us and started (dancing)? In front of us on a night ride.
I saw it earlier and howled to him.
I guess he was part of our ride.
  • 3 1
 I haven't had any but my father told me that in the mid 80's he was in a fire road ride with some friends and one of them smoked a joint at the tip before the decent. Guy rode straight off a 300' cliff, no skid marks on the trail. Dude just road straight off. My dad said that point was called Rodger's launch afterwards.
  • 1 0
 Lesson Learned Son? If you smoke a Joint you will ride off a 300' cliff.
Stay Off Drugs boy!
  • 6 0
 I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens
  • 5 1
 One time we descended a trail, and there was a freshly severed deer leg in the middle of it that wasn't there on the way up...
  • 2 0
 A few weeks back I was riding "MO" Multiple Orgasm near Meech Lake close to Ottawa on the Quebec side.
It was getting dusk and I was enjoying the single track return when what looked like a Tasmanian Devil tornado stormed up on my front wheel.
Scared the shit out of me and when I finally got away from it, stopped and looked at what the hell it was ...
A Ruffled Grouse with some serious attitude now sitting atop a log about 5m away letting me have it !
  • 2 0
 my buddy got attacked my a grouse on a ride. it jumped on his face and he went over the bars. reminded us of peter griffin fighting the chicken.
  • 3 1
 My wife and I were on a guided mountain bike trip in Bolivia with a couple of guides. While we were heading down a gravel mountain road to the trail head, we came across a bull, who trotted ahead for a while, but then just stopped on the road and faced us. The guides started throwing rocks at it, hoping to move it along - and the one guy nailed it right in the jewels. The bull just lost it, and started to tear up the road towards us, horns down. We all held out our bikes for protection, but the bull was focused on my wife, who was on the cliff side of the road. She had to step off the edge, and slid down the scree about 30 feet, while the bull trampled over her bike and ran on up the road. Lots of scrapes, but luckily no trip to the Bolivian hospital...
  • 3 1
 Had a pretty frightening experience whilst hinting earlier this year. My buddy shot a deer right before sunset but it managed to run off into the woods so he called me over and by the time I got to him and we made it over to the wood line where this deer had gone in it had gotten dark. As anyone who hunts knows, it's a pain to track a deer at night in the woods but he said that it was a clean shot so it couldn't have gone far. Fast forward 3 and a half hours, several ditches, and a sporadic blood trail later and we were almost ready to give up when he heard something rustling a few yards off. We quickly but quietly (as quiet as you can be when you are freezing cold and tired to death) moved towards the noise. As we approached, the woods opened up into a 20x20ish clearing. It was silent. We shined our flashlights around hoping for any sign of the deer but saw nothing; then, out of nowhere, we both got chills throughout our bodies. Simultaneously, we shone our lights and glanced upwards and there, as perfect as something out of a horror movie, was an owl sitting on a branch just above eye level. It was unflinching, unblinking, and had a petrifying stare. Neither of us wanting to act scared, we quickly began to talk about the deer and where the hell it might be. But just as soon as we began to talk, in earnest, the feeling of fear intensified and a rustling began coming from several directions at once. There was no hiding it any more, we both felt our skin crawling and knew that something wasn't right. Without so much as a whisper, we abandoned the hunt and took off. We didn't stop running or hacking brush out of our way until we were safely back at the truck. We never did find the deer and we never will know exactly what was out there in the woods that night but it was certainly a moment which won't soon be forgotten and which minded us both that we are never fully in control.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy

Me and @pinkrobe were riding winter trails at Moose Mountain outside Calgary 2 years ago. On our way down the mountain we hear gunshots. Not uncommon as hunting and target practice is allowed in the area. As we continued our descent, BOOM BOOM BOOM. Hmmmm....maybe the hunter missed his prey and is now trying to put it out of its misery. Keep descending. BOOM BOOM!!! louder and closer. We stop. WTF???? Oh well, we decide to keep moving, maybe a bit faster. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!! Lordy tunderin' jeesus! that is CLOSE!!! Do we hunker down until it stops? or keep moving. We decide to keep rolling as we were only a few KM from the parking lot. BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!! f-me. we are being shot at!!!!! lets roll. so we hammer all the way to the parking lot. Low and behold, when we get there, 2 RCMP cars, 1 CO and a SWAT truck from the City of Calgary. We get some weird looks as we roll in and were asked the usual "where were you. what were you doing, what did you see, etc.". We are asked to go to our vehicles and not leave until told to do so. about 10 min later, the SWAT guys come out of the forest with a guy in cuffs. Tall skinny asian kid dressed in street clothes. One of the SWAT guys was carrying a HUGE high-powered hunting rifle with a big scope.

Apparently, other folks saw the kid go into the woods carrying the gun and called it in. he was a ways in there doing target practice, supposedly. Scared the $hit outta me!
  • 1 0
 LOL! Yeah, that was sketchy as fuck.
  • 5 0
 My brother got chased by a cow once. That was pretty hilarious...
  • 3 0
 I've ridden and hiked through herds of cows dozens of times but recently made the mistake of getting too close to a calf. Cows look pretty harmless but momma cow locking eyes on you and running you down...shit gets real quick. Wont make that mistake again.
  • 5 0
 @IsaacO: Cows are also very curious. I once rode through a cow field to get to the river bank at the other side. I rolled down a 6 foot embankment and sat by the water for a few minutes to have a drink etc. I turned round to climb the bank and ride on but all the cows had come over to check me out. I was stuck between the water and a solid wall of beef! Luckily once I climbed up towards them they parted and let me through.
  • 1 0
 @IsaacO: Go look up the animal we originally bred cows from, the Aurochs. Pretty crazy, big nasty animal, was considered to be a significant achievement to bring one down, as they were pretty lethal.

Reminds me of boar hunting during medieval times, people don't realize how huge boars were back then... & how hunting them was basically letting them charge at you & hope that it ran itself into the spear you were bracing against the ground.
  • 1 0
 Haha my buddy and I were recently chased. Black calf in the mtns. Thought it was a bear as first. Torn between calling her Black Betty or La Diabla. She's still out there...waiting
  • 1 0
 on a business trip to the states I decided to go MTB to an unknown trail, unfortunatelly I got lost as I wandered off i heard shots, lots of them, the trails were close to a shooting range unfortunately, still, i didnt get the chance to get to civilization on time, finally shots stoped meaning that night was coming, spending a night in the woods in Michingan aound mid October is no fun
  • 1 0
 Toward the end of a technical climb me and a friend came out into a clearing when just a bit ahead there was a big bull snorting and posturing, my cousin is a paraplegic from a bull attack, so I was sure my time had come. My friend was a former bull rider and he told me not to worry and keep riding. I guess he was right because it just watched us ride away. If you really want to rack up scary stories try free diving, at night, in caves...shudder.
  • 5 0
 Free diving in caves at night? Hmm, since I'm afraid of small spaces, water, and the dark, I'm gonna file that one under "let's not and say we did!"
  • 2 1
 I came across two kids doing the thing on a log while riding down a local hiking style trail two days ago. They were embarrassed, I just looked the other way and jumped over the log with my bike to go on a low path and kept going, not a word said. (All in the space of about 7 seconds)
I was just trying not to laugh and thinking to myself how there were better spots in those woods NOT on the main trail to be doing that.


Otherwise one time I was riding home from work (about a 10 mile ride as I was helping out somewhere) when it was already completely dark out. I had a huge tailwind and was hauling ass and was coming up to a main road intersection, where I just happened on a whim to check for cars (didn't see any lights on my way up to this point) and see one lone car also hauling ass. I slammed on my brakes and managed to stop and the car zoomed pass a good couple feet in front of me, but if I hadn't checked or tried to make it I would've been in a perfect t-bone situation. Made me stop and think about my road habits.

And another time I saw a chipmunk try and bolt across the road and then turned around (like they do) and ended up perfectly underneath a car wheel. That small crunch was a sad thing to hear.
  • 2 1
 Last week we were deep in the woods, Photographing the review of the Intense Primer and I had my Tracer with me, some scary looking guy came out of the woods covered in mud holding a coffee cup that was also covers in mud, he comes up to us and said “you got some purty Bikes”, we both looked it him and said a quick thanks, we continued shooting and looked back again and now he is holding a huge bolder over his head and is walking towards us, we quickly gathered up our camera equipment and took off down the trail at ludicrous speed, we rode about two miles down the trail and stopped , looking around to see if its safe and listing for Banjo music.
  • 1 0
 Coming down Galactic Sheise in Squamish not too long ago, I was riding about a dozen meters behind my buddy when suddenly there was a tremendous crashing sound to our right as something very big and very close scrambled like hell through the underbrush, kicking down huge boulders that thankfully missed us. We both stopped dead, then realizing the thing might not be friendly, pinned it down to the next switchback. From the sound of it it was a very large bear, but we never saw a thing. Just heard the incredible sound of sticks cracking and boulders rolling. Exciting!
  • 2 1
 In the early 90s I was riding on a 4wd road in west side of Canyonlands park. Hadn't seen anyone for days. Windy sunset time and thunderclouds brewing. Neat mix of dark blue clouds, red and orange sunbeams, rain in the distance, vast territory around me. I ride around the edge of a canyon and on the slickrock in front of me is this huge glowing column. Some sort of optical effect, looked different in left and right eyes, but like 150 feet tall, made of cloud and dust and light, and seemed connected to the rock face next to it. Wasn't a wirlwhird, more like an amoeba cloud. I don't understand what kept it together. Moved like it was alive, some big desert god come to life. Watched it for a few minutes and then it became transparent and the wind came back strong. 25 years later and I've yet to see something like that again.
  • 2 1
 Went riding solo in the Santa Cruz mountains when I thought I heard some music. Stopped to locate it and decided there was an instrument being played very close to me. Looked up and there was a shirtless teenage dude in a madrigal style hat sitting cross-legged about 20 feet up in the tree. We was playing a flute and grinning like the Cheshire Cat. When he saw me he just gave me nod a kept playing.
  • 1 0
 I've had a number of strange moments where things all of a sudden just didn't feel right. Worst was a late afternoon in fall while bush wacking trying to scout a trail build alone. About 100 feet away I heard something stomping coming my way. I couldn't see what it was due to tall thick shrubs and I was downhill between me and whatever. It sounded freaking huge and two legged. Sorta shook the ground as it walked. Then my heart did. I called out out of sheer panic. It veered a bit and passed, probably came within 20 feet of me. Had to go toward where it had come from to get back to my truck a few miles away. Nothing to defend myself but my keys. No clue what it was. Definitely the most scared I've ever been. Really fun article Mike! From comfort of my couch. Still...the forests are for wild things, wouldn't have it any other way. It was a bigfoot, troll or large fanged creature!
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 Back in 2003 I was riding down a trail in Idaho with two friends. We came upon a cattle watering hole and the whole herd was there blocking the trail. After debating what to do for a minute we started moving. The herd got spooked and started moving also. I charged ahead and that's when things got really interesting. Before I knew it we were moving down the mountain at a good clip surrounded by dozens of the fattest ass cattle I'd ever seen. They were all running and mooing and shitting all over the place while we were hooping and hollaring and chasing them down the mountain in a cloud of dust. I was directly behind one and it was constantly shitting all over the trail while running. Mouth wide open I was laughing and screaming hysterically whilst plowing thru warm piles of shit and splashing it up onto my bike and body. We felt like Cowboys, the combination of glee, fear, adrenaline, and hilarity was intoxicating. It was stoopid and incredibly dangerous. If one of us had gone down and gotten tangled up with the herd we would have been trampled to death in a heartbeat.
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 Riding up in the hills in Kamloops for the first time, I came across what looked to be a deer carcass five feet up a dead pine tree. The hind legs bones were hanging a few feet higher. Either a sick joke by some hillbilly or a predator wanted to hang it's supper from a tree. Either way it was a hair raising, creepy site to see...
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 I've had a lot had a lot of these moments this summer. Just last Sunday, we were sleeping under the stars in squamish and kept seeing blue flashes in the sky that were certainly not lightning. My home mountains are often full of weird noises, cougar sightings, lost transients and bizarre shit... but it's much weirder in town, imo.
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 Last winter, in a solo fatbike night ride, I received a owl in the chest. We saw each other at the last moment and he crash right between my arms , in the chest. He fall beside me, stand up and fly away before my dog try to catch him. The only word coming to me was "tabarnak!!".
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 A few years ago I hit a 15ft step down jump I'd ridden loads of times before. It was getting dark and I was alone. It's a bit of a blind landing and this one time just as i was about to land a squirrel sprinted right underneath my front wheel. I just missed it but don't know how - it would have wiped us both out I reckon.
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 There's a river trail near my house. Dark, deserted, and far away from the city. A few carparks along the way usually attract some shady types. So riding along here late at night I'm usually a little tense. Imagine the feeling when you're hailing ass, river torrent one side and the bush on the other, when you see a large dark shape charge at your legs. BAM! A wombat charges straight into me! Like being hit by a furry dump truck.
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 Got chased by a badger.
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 Your lucky it didn't get you Mike, me and a buddy were timber cruising up by Hinton and got chased by something that you described perfectly. I've never witnessed something move so fast through undergrowth and thick trees. We got to the quads just in time to look back and get a peek, looked like a tall thin bear that could run on its hind legs, mind you it was just a glance before we threw down on the throttle. We went back the next day and saw the massive swath it cut running through the forest, it also appeared to be following us for some time before we noticed it.
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 I've had a handful of bear encounters while riding. Luckily the bears where Im at are similar in demeanor to Whistler bears. Most memorable was about 5 years ago. A buddy and I were ripping down a local trail in a fast section. Ahead was a mild bend and then you enter a manzanita grove which was basically a tunnel around the trail. Soon as I entered the turn a big male black bear was walking up the trail. I came within about 3ft of him by time he turned and started running ahead of me. I paced him for about 100ft through the tunneled trail before he peeled off to the side up a rocky ridge. We stopped after that and just watched the bear for a few from about 150ft away. He was panting and petrified. I'll never forget the look on his face when I came around the corner. sheer terror in his eyes. Im very grateful he turned fast as he did. else i would have went over the bars onto his back.
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 Last year, July 28th 2015 to be precise, I was riding my local XC trail when a young black bear appeared on my right and started to run by my side in the blueberries. It was a flat section and I was taking it easy at around 25Km/h. For me, the most frightening thing about it at this moment was that I was unable to find its mother. I looked all around for maybe 5 seconds that looked like a lot more not finding the mother and though I have to get my ass from in between the young bear and the mother so I accelerated as fast as I could reaching 37Km/h. A few seconds later the young bear went back into the wood leaving me alone in the trail.

2 days later, a group of 15 women doing their ladies night went face to face with the same bear. And 1 week later a group of 3 guys saw it also. Both times the young bear was alone. It turns out it was a 2 years old black bear that was just left by its mother and was trying to claim itself a new territory.

It took me many weeks to feel at ease in my trail. In fact, it took about 8 weeks....2-3 weeks after I saw the last bear tracks/poop in the trails.
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 Anyone else here ridded Terwillegar Park in Edmonton?
Well, waaay back in the 90's, before they built the Ring Road (Anthony Henday), the field where the bridge over the North Saskatchewan River is now used to be a field of Barley.
Anyways, one Sunday morning, we rode all the way in to the Golf Course Boundary ( but turned around before any aholes in golfcarts came after usSmile As we came around the outside of the Barley, two Yearling Moose (last years calves) came down the singletrack which leads up and out of the field (which we were heading towards), and, being curious, young, and dumb, were heading straight towards us. Well, we were not willing to be inspected by these big gangly kids, so we had to ride through the crop, but being as it was maybe 10:00 AM on a cool Sunday morning, the crop was still covered in dew, so by the time we had ridden across the corner of the field to get around the two moose, and back onto the singletrack leading out of there, our shoes & feet were soaking wet! But still pretty cool to see them up close, just wasn't interested in getting as close as they seemed to beSmile
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 Once, hauling ass up an extremely steep logging road on my dirt bike, a deer popped out of the woods a ways ahead of me and started running up the road. When I passed it, close enough to reach out and give it a pat, it looked me dead in the eyes as if to say, YOU WIN BUDDY, JUST PLEASE DON'T EAT ME! and banked a hard right into the trees. Hope the poor thing didn't have a heart attack, that was one steep hill.
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 Just a guy riding his bike screaming "WAWA"!!!!!! while he was all alone as i watched from the bushes, petrified. The things you see in philly...
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 this one still bring back memories.... I was taking a combat shit when I became keenly aware that my TP was missing. I panicked. I became resourceful. I finished the ride with no socks.
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 I was doing a night ride at my local trails, my fitter friend had disappeared down the jeep track and things started to feel eerily quiet, anyway, next thing right next to me I start hearing movement so Jerk my overbright head torch in that direction and what is there? a fully grown porcupine! it ran next to me about 6 meters away for a few seconds before disappearing down one of the trails, pretty special moment, and never have I ever seen an animal run with such swag, that thing did not give a F...
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 Nothing too freaky.. One time when I was out riding with my brother on a trail I normally ride on my own.. We came to the top of a hill and as we came around a tree we noticed a stroller to the side of the trail. We were pretty far out in the woods and hadn't seen any one all day, so it was unusual to see a stroller. I figured someone just got tired of pushing it over the roots and left it. Kind of spooked us and after about 15 seconds of staring at eachother, we had to look in it. It was empty. Still, we waited another minute or so and booked it before the horror movie music started. Another time I was riding the trails out towards Chuckanut and I was out later than I normally would be. Not sure if it was just the darkness, the feeling of being watched or the crows that wouldn't stop kawing above me in the trees... Turned around and went down that trail faster than I ever had before.
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 sometimes I see rabbit and deer, but as I'm riding around Paris, I sometimes see women that are not here for the forest. And (s)he is not hitch hiking. I like deer.
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 I went riding last weekend with my 12 yr old and he enjoyed it. Freaky.
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 helicopter flying around hovering above me and a friend while doing some trail work. Gave us the heeby jeebeys.
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 That movie was pretty good, stranger than fiction, liked it Smile

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