California story: Bear, bicyclist collide

Stories of bears getting hit by automobiles aren't that uncommon in the Sierra Nevada. In fact, it happened 28 times last year in Yosemite National Park alone.

But stories of bears getting hit by someone on a bicycle? Those are practically unheard of.

Practically. Until Jon Woodard came along.

The 61-year-old from Agua Dulce was riding his bike at about 25 mph along Dinkey Creek Road about 4 miles from Shaver Lake on the morning of July 5 when the unthinkable happened.

"I saw something brown out of the side of my eye, and it was over," Woodard says. "I remember a loud noise, then going over the handlebars." That "something brown" turned out to be a 300-pound bear that picked the wrong time to cross the road.

Woodard, who was clipped into the pedals, landed hard on his back and put a dent in his helmet. The bear? It just kept moving and disappeared into the forest.

Driving behind Woodard at that fateful moment was the Sternberg family of Rancho Cucamonga and they witnessed the unlikely collision.

"The bear just froze," Brooks Sternberg says. "I think [it] was just as shocked as Jon."

The Sternbergs and other passers-by stopped to help Woodard and collect pieces of his broken bicycle, which were strewn everywhere. The carbon frame was snapped clean in two places.

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