Last winter, I got an e-mail from a guy named Corey, who reads this blog in Chicago. He and his brother from Israel were planning a trip to Alaska that would involve some mountain biking, so we swapped a few messages and I offered whatever advice I could.
Shortly before their vacation, Corey asked about bear spray. What to buy, where to find it, etc. That’s when I reminded him he’d have to discard his unused canisters before flying home, and I mentioned how it sucks that people who come to Alaska have to spend $30 to $40 on the stuff and then toss it out at the end of their trip (unless they actually blast a bear with it first).
So Corey and his bro stopped by my house last night at the end of their trip, and handed over two new—and fortunately unused—canisters of Counter Assault. I’m using them to start my own little Capsaicin Co-op for mountain bikers.
If a rider—local or visiting—needs some bear protection for a few days, he or she can drop me an e-mail and arrange to pick up a canister. The only requirements are that you return it at the end of your trip and, in the unlikely event you actually have to hose down a charging animal (aggressive, unleashed dogs count), you replace it with a fresh canister for others to borrow. Oh, and your survivors can’t sue me if a bear still manages to eat you for lunch—I’m offering to lend you a free tool, not a guarantee.
The way I see it, this a little way of helping people carry insurance but requiring them to pay the premium only if they have a claim.
Try getting get a deal like that from Allstate.