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California biker collides with bear on his daily ride

A close encounter with a bear left one California mountain biker shocked but unharmed.
/ Source: TODAY

Mountain biking requires strength, endurance and a sense of adventure, but one man in Tahoe City, California, learned that it may also necessitate some expertise on the subject of bears.

Last week, Davis Souza, co-founder of the Old 40 Bike Park in Truckee, California, and a self-described “avid mountain biker,” was riding the nearby Mills Peak trail with friends. It was a familiar trail for Souza, who bikes every day that he can, and he brought his border collie mutt, Moose, along for the ride.

Souza told TODAY in an email that Moose, who has similar coloring to some bears, is a seasoned trail dog with a strong awareness of the speed bikers like to ride, and he often runs straight through the woods and appears by the side of the trail not long after. Indeed, some long-legged dogs can be excellent biking companions, and Moose has both genes and experience on his side.

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During the riveting ride captured on video, Souza spotted a brown animal in the bushes and assumed it was Moose. Because Moose knows to stop for bikers, “I didn’t hesitate or check my speed,” he said. But moments later, he realized he was wrong.

“My first thought was that I had never seen a bear running so fast,” he recalled, describing the incident as a hit-and-run — with the bear running away as Souza caught his breath. While his biking companions expressed disbelief at what he described, Souza was wearing a GoPro, and they replayed the footage and saw that he had, in fact, hit a bear.

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The video quickly attracted attention on Instagram, collecting nearly 500 comments, even though it's difficult to discern what happens. Both Souza and the bear move so quickly that it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment — though better that than a prolonged encounter with a startled ursine creature.

Souza had some scratches but was mostly unharmed. He even rode the rest of the trail. “I’m still amazed that I was all right and not injured,” he said.

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