Author Topic: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?  (Read 2384 times)

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Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« on: April 17, 2013, 12:03:31 pm »
The Adventure Cycling Association's mission is to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle. As a 14-year ACA member, who has been touring since 1996, and a 25-year park ranger, I am really surprised by posts, mostly from riders outside of North America, about fears of two things; bears and rural American residents. The real truth us, there is not a bear behind every tree bush and rock, and the rural countryside is NOT inhabited by people like those in "Deliverance". Moreover, the replies that reinforce those fears are very disappointing, and certainly not very "inspiring" to those whose only exposure to the United States has been from Hollywood or the network news.

Hopefully, those read this will take my suggestion to try an "inspire" bicycle travelers, rather than scare the begeebees (Whatever begeebees are?) out of them.

Ride safe,
Hans
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 03:22:01 pm by TwoWheeledExplorer »
The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
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"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 01:33:44 pm »
The Adventure Cycling Association's mission is to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle. As a 14-year ACA member, who has been touring since 1996, and a 25-year park ranger, I am really surprised by posts, mostly from riders outside of North America, about fears of two things; bears and rural American residents. The real truth us, there is not a bear behind every tree bush and rock, and the rural countryside is NOT inhabited by people like those in "Deliverance". Moreover, the replies that reinforce those fears are very disappointing, and certainly not very "inspiring" to those whose only exposure to the United States has been from Hollywood or the network news.

This message will likely be removed before many folks can see it, but hopefully, those that do will take my suggestion to try an "inspire" bicycle travelers, rather than scare the begeebees (Whatever begeebees are?) out of them.

Ride safe,
Hans

Hans,
I completely agree with you. This seems to be the case of either a very small number of negative experiences that people feel necessary to warn the entire world about or media stereotypes just being regurgitated by those with little actual experience. These internet based communication systems are able to spread both good and bad information so much quicker and broader than any other means in our history.

Unfortunately when people generally have good experiences on tours, they seem to make less of a big deal of all the wonderful things that happened compared to even a single negative experience that sours an entire trip. EVERY trip I've taken has had negative things occur but nothing that couldn't be overcome and incorporated into the overall experience. That's just life whether on the road or at home.

Of course there are bears out there as well as people that have only their own gain in mind. In fact, there are MANY other things that could ruin a trip as well.

In my many touring experiences in the US and abroad over the past 3+ decades, I have only had wonderful interactions with others and it seems most wildlife is more wary of us than we need to worry about them...other than raccoons around developed campsites!

Having a reasonable understanding of where a tour may be taking you and taking reasonable precautions to mitigate risk are, well, reasonable. Unfortunately our society, these days, is not largely based in reason since that approach doesn't make headlines in this day and age of 30 second attention spans.

I doubt your post will be removed as it is not inflammatory in any way. You just point out what I've noticed for quite some time. I do believe the ACA continues to inspire myself and many others.

Enjoy the ride,
Jay

Peterberger Bike Adventures
ACA Life Member 368

Offline staehpj1

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 01:34:07 pm »
The Adventure Cycling Association's mission is to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle. As a 14-year ACA member, who has been touring since 1996, and a 25-year park ranger, I am really surprised by posts, mostly from riders outside of North America, about fears of two things; bears and rural American residents. The real truth us, there is not a bear behind every tree bush and rock, and the rural countryside is NOT inhabited by people like those in "Deliverance". Moreover, the replies that reinforce those fears are very disappointing, and certainly not very "inspiring" to those whose only exposure to the United States has been from Hollywood or the network news.

True.  The people you will meet in the rural US will on average be kind, generous, open and warm.  They are a big part of what makes touring worthwhile.  Bear fears are also as you say mostly either unfounded completely or at least greatly exaggerated.

This message will likely be removed before many folks can see it, but hopefully, those that do will take my suggestion to try an "inspire" bicycle travelers, rather than scare the begeebees (Whatever begeebees are?) out of them.

Here you lose me.  Why would it be taken down?

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 01:51:12 pm »
I agree with the others. I did have the scary people once on tour in 1982 in SW Washington.  It all turned out ok, but therre were some tense moments.  It could have been avoided.  We were commando camping and failed to get far enough off the road and the tops of our tents were visible.  We had some middle of the night visitors that had driven by repeatedly earlier when it was light (you could tell by the sound of the car). They came by again yelling and threatening, etc.  We had to scramble out of the tents and hide in the woods for awhile, but they never really came in. I never let that incident stop me from camping and touring and, like the others, have had thousands of positive encounters.   
May the wind be at your back!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 01:57:26 pm »
I think you need to separate the organization's mission from the substance of comments made my people on this forum. Also, I think the vast majority of posts dispell the misperceptions of people, many of which are innocent or based on incorrect notions. Indeed, if you look at the threads about bears that have been started over the years, I think you will find the vast majority of responses counter the notion that there are bears waiting behind every tree and that, expect maybe in certain places and unique circumstances, they are not really a problem.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 02:25:28 pm »
Don't you find it somewhat humorous or ironic that you post this two days after someone set off two bombs at the end of the Boston Marathon?  3 dead, 140+ injured last I heard.

"the replies that reinforce those fears are very disappointing"  You will have to provide a few quotes to support this.  I remember most people giving both the good and bad sides.

Offline Miller

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 02:54:51 pm »
+1 to indyfabz and others... I've found this group to be fairly level headed and to possess a wealth of experience that has helped me to put at lot of things in perspective. It's obviously a healthy impulse for people to educate themselves about bears if they have no experience with bears, to develop safe touring practices. Simply asking the question doesn't indicate a belief that there is danger around every corner. Recently someone asked about guns in the U.S., which made perfect sense to me... I've read scores of cross country touring journals and aside from the occasional joke in bad taste I don't think that people fear rural Americans. If they did this group would quickly put them at ease and suggest basic precautions that would be wise to take anywhere.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 03:02:10 pm by Miller »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 05:03:07 pm »
Don't you find it somewhat humorous or ironic that you post this two days after someone set off two bombs at the end of the Boston Marathon?  3 dead, 140+ injured last I heard.

I didn't see any bears or any one that was obviously a rural American resident in the coverage of the Boston attack.  Since those two groups were the subject of the OP I don't see your point.

"the replies that reinforce those fears are very disappointing"  You will have to provide a few quotes to support this.  I remember most people giving both the good and bad sides.

I have to agree that I have not seen all that much in the way of posts here that "reinforce those fears".

Offline jamawani

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 06:44:48 pm »
As a 20-plus year environmental historian in the northern Rockies who has been bicycle touring since 1984 - methinks your worries are misplaced.  Prudence dictates that a person from the East Coast or Europe who shows little awareness of the climate or remoteness of the Intermountain West might benefit from a few cautionary posts.  In contrast, a person who worries every detail usually benefits from a little humor and upbeat encouragement.  YMMV.

Offline cyclingacrossmaerica

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2013, 05:35:58 am »
For what its worth, as the person who started the recent "Bears" post, I have been very grateful for the responses. I feel that they have given me a balanced perspective of the danger and have provided me with some prevention methods. As someone from the UK who knows nothing of bears or racoons (I hadn't even thought about the latter) this has been extremely helpful. I didn't want to be in a position where I turned up without suitable equipment. As it happens, I have found the discussion quite re-assuring, and as I am cycling the TransAm, I probably won't be taking any precautions other than the simpler ones, such as keeping food out of tents etc...

On a separate note, I have been incredibly impressed with ACA. Until I found this website I was unsure about taking a cycling trip. Now that I have found it, I can't stop thinking about the upcoming trip, and I have already booked my flights into Vancouver. From there, I will cycle to the start of the TransAm and work my way across.

Offline pmac

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 09:50:54 am »
I live in the deep South off the Natchez Trace, although I grew up in Chicago.  I've done a fair amount of biking in different parts of the country.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I read about cyclists worrying about biking in the South.  The fact is there are good people and bad people everywhere.  In my experience, the good people greatly outnumber the bad, wherever you're at, although on any long trip you will probably be exposed to some of each.   I just think you have to take people individually.  While we all need to take the appropriate precautions, I think you enjoy live, cycling and traveling more by assuming folks are generally pretty good until proven otherwise.

As far as the bears go, I spend some time in northern Montana grizzly/black bear territory and never saw a bear.  But lots of scat.  Take the appropriate precautions about hanging your food, no food in the tent, different cooking/sleeping locations, etc and you will be fine.  The fact is you are whole alot more likely to be hit by car or struck by lighting than mauled by a bear. 

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2013, 12:04:52 pm »
  The fact is there are good people and bad people everywhere.  In my experience, the good people greatly outnumber the bad, wherever you're at, although on any long trip you will probably be exposed to some of each.   I just think you have to take   

The fact is you are whole alot more likely to be hit by car or struck by lighting than mauled by a bear.

Well said. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2013, 03:30:43 pm »
Don't you find it somewhat humorous or ironic that you post this two days after someone set off two bombs at the end of the Boston Marathon?  3 dead, 140+ injured last I heard.

In addition to being a bike patrol park ranger, I am a volunteer bike medic. My teacher when I first started working EMS on bikes was a lieutenant (who is now Deputy Superintendent) in Boston EMS. Being a park ranger is my "2nd career". I was a paramedic for years before this job. I fail to see any irony, humor, or connection with the tragic events in Boston.

Hans
The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson

Offline indyfabz

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2013, 09:00:33 am »
As a 20-plus year environmental historian in the northern Rockies who has been bicycle touring since 1984 - methinks your worries are misplaced.  Prudence dictates that a person from the East Coast or Europe who shows little awareness of the climate or remoteness of the Intermountain West might benefit from a few cautionary posts.  In contrast, a person who worries every detail usually benefits from a little humor and upbeat encouragement.  YMMV.

Well put. I am an east coaster. While we have some bears in PA and NJ (and other places), I had never spent any time in local bear country before touring in the west, and I had never camped anywhere a day in my life.

During two tours west of the Mississippi I had the good fortune of seeing bears on three separate occasions. One of those occasions was brought about a result of an unthinking/ignorant/sloppy cyclist leaving garbage out at the Jenny Lake campground in the Tetons while he went to try to get better cell phone reception. The young bear (likely an orphan) got into the garbage, had a look-see in the guy's tent and then jumped up on the picnic table to sniff his drying laundry before being scared off by two women banging pots and pans. While proper education may not have deterred that guy, it might result in fewer incidents like that, which incidents can contribute to the ultimate destruction of bears due to habituation. "A fed bear is a dead bear."

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2013, 04:51:36 am »
I agree. Cycling cross country is safe enough to do without undue concern. I have not heard of any cyclists attacked or killed. Crime can happen to anyone anywhere. There is no need to be more concerned with it just because you are riding a bicycle across the continent or across the state. However, this world has always been a dangerous and uncertain place. For example, consider this.
 
http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/april/highwayserial_040609

If you ever get a strange feeling that something just isn't right, don't go looking for tangible reasons to justify those feelings. Obey your intuitive senses, and get out of the situation ASAP. That is what my experiences have taught me.

But really, cycling is safe enough. It is the world that is messed up. People generally do not want to mess with cyclists. You can easily cycle across the USA totally without incident. Just know which kinds of social situations, people, and places to stay away from, and you are in for some free sailing and you are home free.