Jeff Maslanka and Ben Thornton were biking along a the Ashuwillticook Bike Trail in Massachusetts Tuesday when a black bear and three of her cubs crossed the bike path.
“I almost crashed into one of the cubs,” Thornton said. “I stopped, turned around, and pedaled in the other direction, fast.”
“They were just as afraid of us as we were of them,” Maslanka said of the bears.
Yet Maslanka still had the composure to snap some photos of the bears before he continued to pedal on for day three of the Anchor House Ride for Runaways.
The cyclists biked 65.8 hilly miles from Northampton to Lenox, Mass. on Tuesday, climbing 5,300 feet. One climb included a 1,500-foot vertical stretch with a 22-percent grade.
“It was one of the toughest days I remember on any Anchor House ride I’ve done,” said Jim Brady, an 11-year Ride for Runaways veteran.
The cyclists enjoyed views of the Berkshire mountains and the Pioneer Valley, as well as ponds, lakes and a waterfall.
On Wednesday the cyclists will pedal 75.5 miles to Kingston, New York, climbing 3,348 feet. The day has been billed as a recovery day after two days of tough climbing.
Krystal Knapp is a cyclist and embedded reporter participating in the 38th annual Ride for Runaways. For more information about Anchor House or to make a donation visit www.anchorhouseride.org or call (609) 278-9495. Checks can be made out to “Anchor House Foundation” and sent to P.O. Box 2357. Trenton, NJ 08607. Anchor House is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donors receive a thank you, but Anchor House never sells your contact info. or sends donors further requests for donations.