“Tell me a story about the most dangerous encounter with an animal you have had!” , Dana asked me as we were pushing up a 22 km long uphill in Central Turkey, this summer 2022.
When the girls and I are pushing the bikes uphill, they want to hear me telling them stories. Almost always about meeting wild animals from my other bike journeys. I have had many exciting encounters when not on a bike, but they want to hear only stories when I was cycling. So they can relate. How it could be if it happened now when we were travelling. It took us 3 hours and a bit more to get up, so I told them about two encounters on my Chile to Alaska trip back in 1996-98.
Both with a funny ending, which could have been a disaster.
The first incident happened somewhere in the bush steppe between Maruata and Tecoman along the Mexican coast. I was living on beans and bread. This diet often forced me to stop, quickly jump off the bike, get my cycle shorts down and do my business. This time, same scenario but what I didn´t see was that I this time squatted just in front of a hole in the ground. Whilst doing my business a snake passed through my legs. In shock I just sat still. The snake continued away.
I later asked locals which snake it might have been. They said it was a cascabel. A rattle snake. I did not see the rattler though…..
Second occasion happened in Alaska. I was looking for a place to pitch the tent, saw a road leading down to the lake, turned left and rolled down with high speed on a gravel road. Suddenly I heard some cracking bransches and I saw something moving at full speed through the forest. A black bear in full speed. He didn´t seem to see me. I knew I wouldn´t be able to stop. Just as the black bear shoot out of the forest I managed to turn the handlebars just enough to miss the bear. It scared the bear badly and he rushed off in front of me, down the road. I stopped. The bear stopped. And he looked back at me like he wanted to say:
“Don´t you know the traffic rules, dude?”
Then he continued. And I turned around and headed back to the main road.