Mountain biking deep in the woods might provide challenging terrain, but as two Slovakia residents just found out, it sometimes provides unexpected encounters with local predators as well. 

This hair-raising helmet footage was recently uploaded to YouTube by Dusan Vinzik, who was riding with a friend near Ružomberok in the north of the country when the drama unfolded. 

The footage appears legitimate, but it's worth noting that some commenters online are skeptical. That's not surprising: the internet has a history of serving up fake bear encounters just like this one. One phoney clip posted back in 2014 racked up some ten million views before being busted. And just last year, this viral video of a bear in a ski resort also turned out to be a hoax.

But if we assume the encounter is authentic, did the bikers do the right thing by stopping when the bear was out of sight?

In most cases, it's not advisable to "run" from a brown bear (that's "grizzly" for you North Americans). "But they're on bikes!" you say? These animals can clock 30 miles per hour, so assuming you're cruising unmotorised, you're probably not going to outpace a bear (even on two wheels). 

To boot, local commenters note that the trail featured in this video circles around to the right. It's possible that the bikers were worried they might intercept the bear again if they continued on the path. 

As far as we can tell, the encounter ended without any trouble and the bear moved off, perhaps startled by Vinžík's yelling. It's entirely possible that this wasn't as aggressive a charge as it appears in the footage, but rather a coincidental crossing of paths. 

Bikes cover ground quickly and quietly, so if you decide to ride in bear country, make your presence known and ride easy into turns. Carrying bear spray or another deterrent is also recommended.



Top header image: Paul Appleton/Flickr