The other day, I went out on a quick ride of only sixty or so miles to break in a set of new brake linings and a new rear tire. It had been raining for several days and it threatened rain in the morning, but I went out anyway, taking my rainsuit, glove covers, and boot covers along just in case.
I wanted to go on a route that would not put too much braking stress on the new linings until they have around 250 miles on them. That new rear tire could also be a bit slick.
I laid out a tentative route that was augmented by some wandering around on roads near Pickens South Carolina. I wanted a few mostly sweeping curves and quite a few places to apply the brakes to get them accustomed to the old disks.
To my surprise, at an intersection stop sign, I came across a man and two goats. One goat was within a fenced field near the road, but the other was loose and became very interested in me as I came to a stop. He came across the road and happily ambled up to me, almost as though he had a smile on his face, having just spotted an old friend.
I was concerned that I was about to witness goaticide aided by a fast car coming on the cross road. Fortunately, that didn't take place.
Well, I am not the old goat's old friend, but I must have looked enough like one to suit him. The farmer came across the road toward me, grabbed his errant charge by a horn, and led him back to his pen.
I didn't think to get the camera out to record this momentous event, and I went on my way.
A few miles further, I was putting along on Old Saluda Dam Road, and was rounding a gentle right hander, when I spotted something:
More goats. This time, congregated in the road in front of me!
I wasn't going fast, and I was rounding the curve near the centerline, as I should have been for best sight distance. This little herd had come from a dirt driveway on the right beyond the curve a short ways. Of course, I was startled to see this sight, and had to take action.
I didn't think too much about it, but I applied the front and rear brakes, gently at first, then straightened up the bike and headed into the opposite lane before I braked the bike a bit more aggressively. Fortunately, I could see far enough ahead, and there was nothing coming the other way, so there was little drama.
The point is, though, that anything can turn up on the road just around the next curve or over the next rise. Today, it was some errant and curious goats. Tomorrow it could be a pile of sand washed across the road, or a pile of -- well -- excrement, wet leaves, a bird lacking navigational skills, or one of many other hazards.
Worse, it could be another vehicle or a downed tree. You just never know.
So, even though it was not a close call, I am glad I pulled on my best crash costume this morning, and was riding within my sight distance. I might have needed that crash gear today, what will all these things potentially trying to get my goat.
Happy riding, and ATGATT rules! See the difference here.