Jul 31 2008

Premature end of the trip in Almaty

Published by at 2:00 pm under World Tour 2008

The trip is over: I got hit two days ago by a car on our way out of Almaty. The car was going too fast and didn’t see me in time as I was turning left.

Diagnostic: Multiple cuts requiring stitches, right shoulder dislocation, broken arm (humerus tubercle), broken bike and I lost my hat.

before reduction
before reduction

after reduction, broken humerus tubercle (top left)
after reduction, broken humerus tubercle (top left)

I need an operation on my arm. I am still in Almaty and just booked a fly back to France tomorrow morning as everyone (including the French embassy) in Almaty told me the hospitals here are rather dire compared to the West. From what I have seen so far I definitely don’t want to get an operation followed by weeks of recovery alone in a Kazakh hospital especially when I can’t understand what the doctors tell me. Unfortunately after two days spent calling my travel insurance (American Express UK), telling my story 15 times and being told they’d call me back each time (they never did), the insurance refuses to cover expenses for a flight and operation back home. I shouldn’t have waited for their useless input and booked a flight earlier.

Minutes after the accident
Minutes after the accident

My girlfriend in the UK and my parents in France have spent the last 48 hours on the phone trying to find the best options for me. Olivier (recumbent) is still with me in Almaty and also provides me with fantastic help and support. The French embassy has also been very supportive and helped me to sort things out with the police. The driver is at fault but wasn’t insured, or maybe he was, but in Kazakhstan it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I am leaving the bike in Almaty as the police need it for their inquiry, the embassy will take care

No more cycling for now
No more cycling for now

of it afterwards and I’ll try to get it sent back to Europe later if it can be fixed.

Thank you to everyone who e-mailed me during my trip. Each message was a great morale booster!

I had three fantastic months on the road. I hope to recover quickly for other adventures!

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Premature end of the trip in Almaty”

  1. geraldine et xavieron 31 Jul 2008 at 3:05 pm

    On est vraiment désolés pour toi mais le principal c’est que tu ailles bien maintenant. Tu as fait un merveilleux voyage et connaissant le Kazakhstan c’est un véritable exploit de l’avoir traversé en vélo! Donne vite de tes nouvelles et on espère à bientôt pour de nouvelles aventures.

  2. bruno amdjaon 31 Jul 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Je n’ose émettre un commentaire au sujet de ton “assurance”, mais je pourrai te recommander à mon avocat : rassemble des preuves! Et quand la police indigène aura fini de tourner autour de ton vélo, j’irai s’il le faut le chercher l’an prochain (ce sera l’occasion que mon turc se frotte au kazakh). A moins qu’American express UK ne daigne le rapatrier, puisqu’on n’opère pas les vélos! Toute la famille vient dimanche à Clairlieu, tu es donc attendu (on ne t’espérait pas si tôt!). Et la prochaine fois, je te donnerai mon mini-dico de poche “turc-français/F-T). A très bientôt, bon courage… et bravo!

  3. Sylvainon 31 Jul 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Que dire d’autre après ce qu’a dit papa ?
    Que ton voyage nous a donnés envie, à Mélanie et moi, de partir à notre tour (j’espère que maman ne lit pas ça ;-). Ton site Internet a été pendant ces trois mois une véritable bouffée d’oxygène ! J’espère que tu n’as pas trop de regrets, tu es déjà allé très loin…
    Bon voyage de retour, et pour finir je vais dire comme papa, qui a trouvé le mot simple mais idoine : bravo cousin !
    Et à bientôt.

  4. Marina Aérenson 31 Jul 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Salut Arnaud,

    Dans 5 heures le réveil, mais pas un comme c’est dernier temps, ce soir tu seras au pays avec tes proches.
    Je ne peux que compatir à ta douleur et de devoir ainsi abandonner ton voyage.. Mais ce n’est que parti remise.
    Je te remercie d’avoir accompagné Olivier, vous savoir ensemble était très rassurant pour moi.
    Bonne courage pour l’opération qui se fera en france dans la civilisation ( je me souviens comment Olivier décrivait tes hurlements dans la chambre d’hopital Kazac 😉 ).

    Au plaisir de te rencontrer.

    Marina.

  5. olivieron 01 Aug 2008 at 10:34 am

    Salut Arnaud

    remets toi vite en bonne santé
    bon courage

    ++ Olivier

  6. Paulon 01 Aug 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Hey Arnaud,

    Sorry to hear about the accident. Hope it doesn’t all hurt too much. The dislocations alone must be pretty unpleasant. Well it still was some trip! I hope to see you if you come back to the UK sometime. All the best with travel and recovery.

    – Paul

  7. Sandrineon 01 Aug 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Bonjour Arnaud,
    J’ai vraiment eu beaucoup de peine d’apprendre que tu as eu un accident.
    Je viens te soutenir moralement, ton but premier maintenant est de te refaire une santé pour pouvoir entamer un jour d’autres aventures.
    Mon cousin vient juste d’apprendre la nouvelle et en lisant ton récit il en a été très peiné.
    Je te souhaite bon courage et j’espère à bientôt sur la toile.
    Amicalement.
    Sandrine

  8. Mark Songhurston 01 Aug 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Arnaud – I’m so sorry to hear about your accident, what a frustrating thing to happen.
    Really glad to hear you’re (kind of) ok though. Hoping to welcome you back to the UK some time soon so.

  9. Rob Son 01 Aug 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Hey Arnaud,

    Sorry to hear about your accident 🙁 It looks painful.

    Hope to see you back in blighty soon 🙂

    Rob

  10. Sam Kingon 02 Aug 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Arnaud,

    Soooo sorry this has happened. I really looked forward to your postings and was enjoying seeing that part of the world through your eyes.

    At least you are able to walk away from it with more good memories than bad.

    Looking forwards to seeing you soon and good luck with the op.

    Sam

  11. Grahamon 05 Aug 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Hello Arnaud,

    I,m so sorry to hear of your crash but so glad that you are ”Walking Wounded” and not worse, I have been addicted to your site (as have many others of us here in Cheltenham) and have been telling all my friends to take a look too.

    Please continue with your blog so that we can all see how you are getting on.
    Now rest and make a speedy recovery and I hope that we will see you soon

    Courage, Graham.

  12. Mike Vermeulenon 08 Aug 2008 at 11:45 am

    Sorry to hear of the accident, and wishes for a speedy recovery.

    You had an amazing ride up to there and interesting to see things through your eyes.

  13. Toshon 08 Aug 2008 at 1:30 pm

    holy £”!$ Arnaud!! what a shame you had to end your adventure so early. safe journey back to France and take it easy………..see you in work soon

    Tosh

  14. Martin Bon 08 Aug 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I just heard the news Arnaud, that is such shame that you made it all that way, only to get stopped just before getting into China, but at least you are still here to tell the tale.

    Good luck with the recovery and I hope to see you soon.

    Martin

  15. Julianon 09 Aug 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Arnaud

    Really sorry to hear the news. It is an amazing trip that you have done. Looking forward to seeing you.

    Julian

  16. PaulFon 09 Aug 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Hey Arnaud,

    Mark just told me about your blog last week; the first time I look at it I get greeted with this bad news :-(. Really sorry to hear about it, but I’m glad you’re in reasonable shape. Sounds like you had a lot of fun while it lasted. Hope to hear your tales first hand some time.

    Paul

  17. Heatheron 10 Aug 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Oh Arnaud! How awful – recover well, and get back on your bike soon!!

    I’ve enjoyed following this adventure of yours – and look forward to many more! 🙂

    Heather x

  18. Ruperton 10 Aug 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Arnaud

    Have been dipping in and out of your brilliant blog. This is sad news to hear that you are having to return home prematurely. Time is a great healer. I am desperately pleased that that the injuries were not more severe. Shall breathe a further sigh once you are safely in a French hospital. May of us in the Section have truly great admiration for what you did achieve. We look forward to your arrival back to Cheltenham in due course.

    Kind regards Rupert

  19. Tim Won 11 Aug 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Hi there Arnaud

    Julian told me last night about your premature return home. I hope you make a speedy recovery. Perhaps you’re already planning the next epic trip, (an evening trip to a Cotswold pub perhaps?!).

    I’ve enjoyed following your adventure.

    Best wishes.

    Tim

  20. Federicaon 12 Aug 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Hi Arnie

    so sorry to hear about your accident, I hope it’s not too painful now. Real shame you had to finish your trip earlier than planned but surely what a wonderful adventure it’s been and lots of experience for next one! Lots of love, take good care and hope to see you soon! Federica

  21. Barbieon 28 Aug 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Arnaud,

    I’ve only just caught up with your last blog entry (holidays and YAPC::Europe have kept me busy), although I heard you were back in France. However, I thought it was due to the previous accident, not a “fresh” one! It’s certainly going to make for a classic adventure if this ever makes it to book form 🙂

    Hope the operation(s) and recovery are going well, and look forward to hearing the full gory stories in person at some point.

    So are you still planning to carry where you left off later in the year? Are the border restrictions into China are a little more relaxed now that the Olympics have been and gone? Either way, looking forward to reading more of your news here once your fit and well again.

    Take care of yourself,
    Barbie.

  22. Thierryon 19 Sep 2008 at 10:10 am

    Hey Arnaud !

    Just heard yesterday what happened to you (from France3); glad to see you are still in one peace ; have a speedy recovery and hopefully see you soon

    Thierry

  23. Kyle Archeron 06 Jan 2009 at 4:37 am

    I give you my most sincere regards, as I know exactly how you feel. I was hit by a truck and put in hospital for three weeks while on my World Tour. Unfortunately I only got as far as Croatia, so you…win? 😉

  24. Andrew Russellon 25 Apr 2009 at 10:20 am

    Arnaud,

    I hope that 10 months later your arm is completely recovered.

    I found your blog through looking for a cycle shop in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.

    I work in Aty (in the oil industry like 70% of the working population) and have bought a bike out here to cycle over the steppe local to where I work.

    Your accident reinforces what I have heard about Kaz as far as cycling is concerned, that it is far safer to stay off the roads, and best to keep to the tracks.

    I still haven’t found a bike shop in Aty, and probably wont. I will just have to buy spares and the like when next I am back in the UK and bring them out.

    Again, I hope you are better now and still cycling.

    Take care,

    A.Russell

  25. Alastair Humphreyson 17 Feb 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Quelle domage!
    What a terrible end to the story.,…

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