You never know when you are going to get attacked by a bear while riding your bike. My friend Matt and I went biking on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in Maryland yesterday. Matt had never been on that trail and I told him it was more exciting than York’s rail trail since it was a little bit rougher terrain and the surrounding area was more remote. And it was in Maryland. The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail is the rail trail that connects directly to the York County Rail Trail. The York County Rail Trail is 20 miles and then it continues in Maryland for another 20 miles.
Matt trusts me, although I am not really sure why, so he agreed to go.
Being the lazy cyclist that I am, I suggested that since the wind was coming from the north, and since the grade on the trail went up as it approached Pennsylvania, we should start in Maryland, ride to New Freedom and then the ride back would not only be downhill, but we would have a tailwind as well. It would be a total ride of about 29 miles, with half of that requiring significant effort and the other half requiring knowledge of how to ride really fast and pass other people on the trail while yelling “sucker!”.
So we drove down to the trailhead at Monkton, MD, which is mile marker 7, and biked up to Maryland/PA line, which was mile marker 20, and then passed the Mason Dixon line up to New Freedom, which is 1.5 miles north of the border. Matt, who had driven over the Mason Dixon line hundreds of times in his life, was very excited about the fact that we were going to bike over it, and therefore we had to take our picture. It was hard to fit both of our heads in the photo with our very cool helmets on, so we had to compromise. Luckily for me my left side is my better side.
With about a mile left in our ride, as Matt was showing me some fancy mountain bike moves, a black bear came running out of the woods towards us. Matt, being the brave guy that he is, threw himself – and his awesome bike – between me and the bear – which scared the bear so much it turned in terror and ran away. Unfortunately, in the process of bravely saving my life from a bear, Matt’s entire derailleur came off his bike and we had to hoof it back to the car.*
We were both so grateful to be alive that we went to the John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville for dinner and allowed ourselves to eat dessert. We both had the peanut butter chocolate cake, which looked a little weird, but was absolutely worth what was probably 1500 calories, which we justified because we knew we burned off at least that much chasing off the bear.
All in all it was an exciting day on the trail!
*It is possible, although I will neither confirm or deny it, that I have embellished this story, and that Matt’s derailleur came off merely because he shifted wrong and therefore it was user error – and was probably a faulty derailleur. But again, I’m not saying that is what happened. The way I remember it, there was a bear involved and a brave rescue of my life.