Hit By A Bus In Patagonia

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.


Lital said...

Loretta, glad to know you are okay. Hopefully everything comes together for you. You and your adventures have been very inspiring, and I've been following your blog for a few months now. May that be the last crazy bus-driver on your route! STAY RAD!

Suze said...

Oh Loretta, thank heavens, earth, your angels and everything else that you are ok. Terrifying. Seems to me they, the bus company, should replace your gear at the very very least. Be well,!!!!

jaybird said...

So glad you're still a kook! Miss(ed) ya(with my bus). Hee hee. Keep dem angels busy, young lady.

Cumbriann said...

Jeez Loretta!!! that was a close call! and the picture of your pannier says it all. Don't throw the pannier away whatever you do. Frame it and take with you when you give your many, many motivational lectures, as I'm sure you will. (You're staying at mine by the way when you come to Kendal).

AlaskaZ said...

Angles wings never get tired when they have your stories to share.

Mirjam said...

Whoa! So glad to be able to read this....
Good luck & hugs from Korea!

Maui said...

I wrote a comment in my blog, cause I like what you do and I am glad you are safe.

You can dub yourself the catwoman, you have 7 (maybe more) lives apparently, very apparently:) Lucky you:)

Frank said...

You are one lucky chook ,I hope that you are OK and after a few days off and when the shock wears off you are able to continue.

Go the Angels hugs from OZ.

An'So said...

The roads in Patagonia are scary, I mean the wind and the drivers are scary. I have to say that is THE place where I thought I could die from a road accident. Apparently there were complains about me riding when it was really windy, the police was even asking me to ride on the other side of the road where the wind would have actually pushed me towards the trucks!!
Cars and trucks have the priority down there, cycles should not disturb them or slow them down... Glad you're mostly fine.
Unfortunately while I was a little more North it looks like a cyclist was not as lucky: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19094456/fichiers/Carta%20abierta%20a%20Richard%20Glotzbach.pdf\

An'So the unicyclist

Anonymous said...

Loretta, thank god that you are ok, that is all that matters. Gear can be replaced. Pandemic, the magic bicycle will recover to continue cycling around the world. Love from Canada.

LuneStaar said...

Hey, Glad you are ok! Take care, watch out for those monster buses.Carry your angels close. I think you are doing an amazing thing that many are envious of.
I hope this post works.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're ok. It is my biggest fear on the roads to get hit from behind and I always wear hi vis top to hopefully reduce the chances. Please start wearing one too as I would miss your adventures if you get wiped!!!

Unknown said...

Jeez, I guess it's only a matter of time when you spend that much time on the road. I'm so glad you came out unscathed. So, is the ortlieb savable with some glue and duct tape?

acid mustafa said...

Goodness, you must have been trully shaken by that incident. Glad you are ok . Keep the spirit high and stay cool.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

My gosh Loretta, OMG, it is evry cyclists worst nightmare!! Thank god you are OK, it could have been so much worse!!!

Be safe and be well!!

Chris from Canada!!

Loretta Henderson said...

A big ol´e flying angel thanx to everyone for the well wishes here, FB and twitter. I´m truly touched. A lot of gear is destroyed but it is just stuff. I am not hurt that is all that matters. I made some calls, NRG Enterprises gave me new panniers, the slashed tent poles I am hoping Helliberg will replace. I just have to arrange shipping to Santiago. The rest of the gear I will sort out later. Thanks all, I really appreciate all the support. xxLoRetta

Mike Brockie & Judy Yeoman said...

Glad to read you are ok. Whew, narrow escape.

Anonymous said...

And one more question....I travel alone in a 36' fifth wheel. In 7 years I've yet to run into another single woman on (8) wheels. I just ran into one who abducted her husband from a rest home under the cloak of darkness with an RV and it turns out we're both Capricorns (sun & moon!) so now I have to know if you are too.

Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"

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