Bike shop worker fights to keep shop open for injured owner

As Dmitri Rumschlag recovers, his employees kept the store running and helped raise funds for his medical expenses.

DENVER – Dmitri Rumschlag, owner of Z Cycle Shop in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, was riding a bike in early December when he was hit by a hit-and-run driver and suffered injuries that left him hospitalized.

“On December 4, he was driving home from the Mercury Café,” said Frankie Wenham, an employee of the bike shop.

Denver Police said Rumschlag was driving south on Washington Street when the driver of a truck on 6th Avenue crashed into him. People in the truck fled the scene and police later learned that they were driving a stolen vehicle.

“He has 11 broken ribs, Wenham said. “He has a broken hip, a broken pelvis, a broken femur, internal bleeding and a torn aorta.”

Wenham is keeping the bike shop open as Rumschlag recovers, helping to fundraise for his medical expenses through a GoFundMe and making known the suspects the police did not catch.

Nine months ago, Wenham couldn’t have imagined fixing a bike and getting paid for it.

“I didn’t even know how to change a tube,” Wenham said. “I didn’t know anything.”

But when she needed a job, the owner of Z Cycle Shop believed in her.

Wenham lost both of her service sector jobs due to the pandemic and Rumschlag hired her, even though she was unfamiliar with bicycles.

“He had a lot of patience for me,” she said. “He’s good at teaching people. He wants people to learn something that is close to his heart.”

Rumschlag gave him a chance, and now Wenham is fighting for a chance for him.

Wenham learned on Wednesday that he could leave the ICU. “I’m not Dmitri and I don’t know everything I need to know sometimes,” she said with a laugh.

But, she knows what it’s like to need help, and she will give back in any way she can.

“He has become my closest friend,” she said. “The closest thing I have to my family in Denver.”

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Maria R. Newman