A drop of golden sun lured four of us to ride motorcycles out to Arkona to conduct a bit of business on Thursday. Three bikes, four people, beautiful conditions. It’s what riding is all about.
On our way back to London in the still-brilliant sunshine around 4 pm, we noticed a huge doe running across a field bound for the road we were on. The three Harleys were spread out a bit but it was clear that our friend Pete on the lead bike was about to have a close encounter of the venison kind.
Pete hit his brakes hard and left a patch of rubber on the road and sent up smoke that obscured our view of him. Both other bikes were already slowed way down in anticipation of the deer running into our path. Glass shattered from a vehicle approaching us and it looked like the deer had just missed Pete on his Fat Boy. When everything cleared, Pete was coasting on the road. Later his wife, Maria, next after Pete on her Sportster, told us she was thinking what we were thinking: pull over!
Finally we all did and the fur caught on Pete’s faring and his shattered front light told the story. Pete had made contact with the leaping doe and somehow, amazingly, stayed upright on his bike and suffered no injury. Bits of hair stuck into various parts of the purple bike and the paint was scratched where hoofs struck it. Pete’s hands were shaking from the adrenaline rush. Maria was awash with relief and so were we.
In addition to hitting hard on the brakes, Pete made a conscious decision to hold on to his handlebars as hard as he could to make sure his front tire stayed straight to give him the most stability possible when he and the deer collided. The tactic worked and where someone else might have been thrown, Pete stayed upright. We were all shocked and delighted!
One of the witnesses who had pulled over came to see if we were alright. The van driver who struck the deer was also shook up but otherwise OK. And the deer? Well, she ran back off from where she came. It was unusual to see a deer leaping from a field in the light of day. Usually it’s dawn and dusk when there’s the most risk. Was she fleeing a hunter and found a van and a motorcycle instead? We’ll never know. But Pete’s skill and a fair bit of luck give this story a happy ending.