Photo Credit: Photo | Kevin Dowler

Grizzly Bear vs. Pocket Knife: Quadra Cyclist’s Unbelievable Fight for Survival, and His Plea for Blood

“I was thinking I wasn’t going to make it"

Dowler is urging people to donate blood, which saved his life after the attack

In 2019, Colin Dowler took a solo backcountry bike trip in the remote coastal rainforest north of Powell River.

The trip was right out of a movie – specifically, The Revenant.

More specifically – the scene where Leonardo Decaprio fights a Grizzly Bear.

The Quadra Island local had the run of his life when a 300-plus-pound bear charged him.

“I was thinking I wasn’t going to make it,” he said in 2019.

Dowler was raked through the stomach, arms, legs and foot. He described hearing the grizzly’s teeth grinding on his bones.

Adrenaline pumping, he brought out a pocket knife and drove it into the bear’s neck.

(If that isn’t cinema worthy, we don’t know what is.)

In shock and severely injured, he somehow managed to tourniquet his leg, get on his bike and ride 7 km to the nearest logging camp.

His femoral artery had been completely severed, and he was bleeding out.

Luckily, a ” blood-on-board ” program had just started at this camp months before, and the logging site had transfusion supplies on hand.

“They hooked up a bag of blood and had a logger working as an IV pole holding a blood bag,” said Dowler, who said the loggers went through two bags before he even got into the evac helicopter.

The blood transfusion saved his life.

Emergency doctors credited the quick actions of the loggers for Dowler’s survival.

Because of the availability of blood transfusions, he was able to keep his leg, which likely otherwise would have had to have been amputated.

Dowler is now using his story as encouragement for blood donation.

“People that can donate.. it makes the world of difference, so please donate blood,” he said to CTV News.

Dowler is about to host a blood drive in Nanaimo. Donations are needed more than ever. Summer is the slowest season for giving blood, and it’s when most people are out on potentially risky outdoor adventures.

“People may take it for granted that blood and blood products will be there if their loved ones need them. However, hospitals only have these products when someone makes the time to give,” said Ron Vezina of Canadian Blood Services.

“Right now, there are not enough people donating.” To join the community of donors who play a vital role in patient care in this country, download the GiveBlood app, visit, or call 1 888 2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) and book an appointment today.