You Can’t Bike with a Broken Ankle


by Sara “Spiss” Dykman


The more I experience life, the more I have learned to ignored plans and rules.  I like the idea that every decision changes my direction in life.  That nothing is predictable, but rather a long chain of events that you only can link up once they are history. I often think about how bike49 came to be.  How a bike tour in high school made me fall in love with the bicycle.  How that love of cycling lead me to GreenWheels and a group of friends that would push me to try new things, strive for ridiculous goals, and become a person I am proud of.  Of course not all decissions are life changing.  Or are they?


The other day the rain kept us lazy and miles from our ending goal at the end of the day.  We stopped at every town.  We waited under awnings, watching the rain fall and the flags whip the wrong direction.  We spent too much time at the grocery store, buying more food than we could ever eat in one day.  When we finally decided to call it a day we had pedaled 30 miles.  That series of decisions lead us to Bristow, NE. 


We camped in the town park.  There were covered picnic tables and pastel jungle gym equipment.  Tommy tried out the swing.  Then Aaron.  Then it was my turn.  The swing broke while I was swinging.  And that two second snap has played in my head for thousands of seconds.  Two seconds of falling, two seconds of shock, two seconds of watching my foot point in a foreign direction, and two more seconds to realize that bike49 was over for me.  Just a few seconds to know I was not going to be biking for awhile.  I yelled that it was broken.  Maybe I was talking about the swing or my foot.  I don’t really know.  Maybe I yelled because my plan was broken. 




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A day later, I return to the swing and my bicycle.

Aaron, Tommy, and Matt were there for me.  As was a women in town who drove me to the emergency room 30 miles beyond.  When the doctor told the nurse to start a morphine drip, I looked him in the eyes and calmed down enough to say “Doc, I am not screaming because of the pain.  I am screaming because I am pissed.” They cancelled the drip and I tried not to think about the future.


So the future is still, as always, unknown.  I can look at my foot and know biking is not an option.  Of course I’ll be back.  I have been dreaming about bike49 for years.  It has been in my blood, my brain, and my emails for years.  Oh, I’ll be back. 


My mom picked me up in Nebraska (thanks mom) and now we are in Kansas.  Tomorrow is surgery.  I’ll be back home tomorrow with two pins holding two of the three factures in place.  I’ll spend the weeks contacting schools and newspapers. I’ll use those five pound weights my mom has to beef up my arms.  I’ll lay outside in the cold weather so I don’t get use to all the comforts of indoor living.  I’ll forgo showers most of the time, not because of the cast, but so that I don’t get too use to being too clean.  I’ll sleep on different couches and have my parents move the bed in my room, so I don’t get use to waking up in the same place.  And I’ll thank my lucky stars it was just one leg and that bike49 is so damn long.



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My cousin, Molly, had her first grade class make me some get well cards. They were a great treat. Spiss is how one young girl spells Sara, and I think it is a keeper.

Lying here, waiting for my bones to heal, I can’t help but think about biking 90 percent of the day.  I think about Tommy and Aaron and Matt out there.  I think about my bike sitting in the garage.  I also think about my chain of events.  What opportunities will this setback present me with?  I won’t know for a while, but one day, looking back, I’ll think about how this short recess changed my path and brought me somewhere I could never predict.  I’ll let you know where that is when I figure it out.  Until then…


Tommy, Matt, Aaron.  I love you.  I miss you.  Thanks for being such great friends. Keep up the good work.  Don’t swing on swings. 

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