A friend of mine once told me ´the reason you get to cycle around the world is because you have a team of angels with you but to never forget that even angels wings get tired of flapping sometimes´´ I laughed back then but today I started to believe there is something to that theory because at around 4pm, Oct 8th 2013 I got hit by a bus. I was cycling in a strong head wind 140 km from Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile and the bus did not see me. The bus drove at 94 km/hr (I found out the speed later) into my Ortlieb pannier. The pannier exploded and shredded from the impact essentially saving my life. My shoulder rolled forward, the colors on the bus literarily blurred before my eyes. I slammed my left shoulder into the moving bus and then Pandemic The Magic Bicycle and I crashed hard onto the rocky ground. I do not know how or why but I am completely uninjured. I have no road rash, no broken wrists, no head injury, only a bruised shoulder. I got lucky, very very lucky.
Solo Female Cyclist Patagonian Angels (photo taken by Mithun Shaw)
´´Yes I am fine, but you just hit me with your bus´´ I chuckle with relief to the bus driver. His concerned eyes are staring at me in disbelief that I just stood up smiling, laughing that somehow I am not injured. He watched me lying on the ground and had thought the worst. His blue official vest is tucked into his grey pants. His hand is pointing to the ground to the ´blood´. My belongings are strewn across the road, many of them are shredded, plastic bus parts are everywhere.
|The collision broke the plastic molding off the bus, I kept it as a souvenir|
´´Where is the blood? ´´ The group of 3 bus officials have gathered from inside the bus ask as I look down at my knees, and take off my jacket to check for blood. One man finds a plastic bag full of ´blood´ amongst my belongings and sorts out it is not blood but a broken jar of raspberry jam.
“We need to fill out a report, we must drive you to the police” the man who is fluent in english and is now translating says. My language skills for speaking spanish have flown away in the andrelin and realization that I got hit by a BUS, a big fast hard bus. The bus driver messed up and drove into me with his big fast hard bus.
The police gather around me, the bus driver and his friends explain that I and the wind are at fault and I must sign a form, it is their explanation of the events, I am told it is just documentation. I refuse to sign it. Since when is a bus allowed to plow down a cyclists who is cycling down the yellow line on the shoulder. I think to myself.
“Are you hurt? The bus will drive you the 140km into Puerto Natales to try fix your gear, are you hurt” The police say
“No I am not hurt but my pannier and belongings are destroyed, I think I must have angels, I am just glad I am ok but no thank you, I am not signing that explanation. “ I say unaware of the full extent of destruction to my gear amongst the stench of a patronizing crowd who are kind although clearly watching each other´s clever backs.
|(my peace love and please don´t hit cyclists note for the bus driver)|
“I am very lucky I guess I am just a good bouncer but please tell the driver to try to stay alert because in a few months during high season many cyclists will come to Patagonia to pedal and if there is a next time someone is going to get hurt or killed. Stay alive, give a cyclist 1.5 meters minimum of space. I got lucky, I think I must have angels, tired tiny combat angels that flapped their little wings for me once again while trying to cycle around the world.“