Broken Ankle



Laughing at the how weird my ankle looks

So, a few months ago I broke my ankle. I was on a speedier ride then usual, rushing to get back to Glasgow, and stupidly chasing some cyclist up one of the hills south of Glasgow. As I descended this hill, just before I got to a crossing, the traffic lights started to change. I was thinking, “Can I still make it?” I was going quite fast so I probably could have made it, but I decided to stop. My cleat on the left shoe (the side I usually unclip with) was super worn, and I was worried it would break, so I unclipped on the right side, but because I was tired and had no time to think about the stopping procedure, I leaned to the left side. I realised I would fall, but I didn’t want too. I tried to get out the pedal, but couldn’t. Then I fell.

Next thing I knew, I was lying on the street feeling pain in my left leg, and tears started flooding down my face. Not because of the pain, but more because I was scared about what that meant for my around the world cycling trip. The cyclists that I had overtaken previously came to help me and moved me on to the pavement. They also waited till I had called a friend to pick me up. Although I wasn’t sure it would be necessary, my friend Ross drove me straight to A & E. Thank you so so much Ross!


Getting my cast nicely decorated

The X-rays revealed a ‘nasty brake’, as the nurse called it. I cried again. My fibula was broken, quite low down on my ankle. Surgery was an option, but I was to come back again the next day to see what the doctors thought would be the best treatment option. I was crying a lot that day, not because of the pain, but because I knew I had to change many of my cycling plans. I had to lie around with my leg up as much as possible. Eventually I was given a moon boot. After a few weeks I started to put a wee bit of weight on it and that got less and less uncomfortable. After a month without the cast I started to cycle on my road bike again. The first time back on the bike was pretty scary. I couldn’t clip in to my pedal on the side of my bad ankle because getting out hurt way too much. I adjusted my pedals for the next ride and avoided city riding to avoid unclipping.


Hopping around the running, cycling and outdoors show in Glasgow. Photo credit: Katie Noble Photography


Hopping off to catch the bus. Photo credit: Katie Noble Photography  

I’ve now been cast free for a month and a half and although walking is still uncomfortable, cycling feels better and better. 🙂 Last weekend I even cycled with the Adventure Syndicate team to support them to break the North Coast 500 mile record, here in Scotland. Cycling with them was great fun and they smashed the record! 🙂 Well done girls!!!

My physio and I are now working on getting the flexibility on my ankle back, and then we will start strengthening it (it’s still pretty wobbly)! 🙂

What does that mean in terms of the trip? As most of you will know, I was meant to leave at the end of April, which has obviously not happened. As you guys can probably appreciate I am pretty bummed about that. I am now figuring out whether I can still leave this summer. This will depend on my ankle healing up nicely, weather (I’ll need to cycle in colder temperatures, less day light etc), changes to my route, and becoming a confident adventure seeking cyclist again. Right now a lot of things feel very uncertain. Actually, the whole trip seems very surreal, and sometimes I question how the hell I ever thought I could cycle around the world. I think the uncertainty scares me. But I know the fear will become less and less the more I can trust my body and bike again, and the more I plan and prepare.

Thanks for all your support and lovely messages over the last few months. They all meant a lot to me! 🙂

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8 Responses to Broken Ankle

  1. Hannah says:

    ❤ what a strong lady ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sourish says:

    Very sorry to read about your accident, Paula. But can you not go next summer? I would give my ankle all the rest it deserves…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sergio says:

    Hi Paula! Sadly, bad things happen at times, above all in sport activities. You have to accept it as a rule of the game. Please stay strong, be confident of yourself, and you will do great things. Remember that cycling can provide some of the most magnificent experiences in your life. We hope to see you soon on the start line of your big journey around the world! Because you want it, and we want to share your dream with you as well! Bye

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, with 6 weeks to a round the world trip I could not get my sock on after an operation on my foot. Lots of tears, all the tickets booked and work packed in. I had less than 50 post op miles on the bike when we landed in NZ. I think missing the weather window is more of an issue and you need that to be optimum. Go for a end to end fast time this year or other confidence boost or a Trans America ride. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paula says:

      Hi, thanks for your lovey message. Sounds like a very similar situation to mine. Good to hear about other people’s experiences of these crappy situations! Taking on such a project with a not fully recovered foot must have been scary! How did the cycling itself go? Can you clarify what you mean by an end to end fast time? I agree, if I don’t leave this year I need to take on another smaller challenge!


      • IThe end to end is Lands end to JohnO’Groats – the fastest time is an insane speed. I was on the roads when the Trans America ride came the other way. I think I would go East to West these days – the winds have changed. A fast time for this would be a month – the record I think is 19 days. You self support – we passed people that were going to take 2 months or so – it is very random ( not like race across America ). Take a look at


  5. I just looked up the route on Adventure Cycling. You could start this as late as August depending on snow conditions. It would be a great test of gear – you go up to over 11,000ft and cross very hot areas. The film inspired to ride was shot on the first edition of the race version of the route.


  6. Lynne says:

    Really enjoy reading your blog and happy you are on the road to tecovery


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