Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wipeout! my Guamanian bicycle adventure

Bicycling on Guam in 1971 was one of the many pleasures of being stationed on that beautiful island. 

 One day, after watch, I set out for the beach that was near the Naval Communications Station.  It was at the foot of a long and winding steep road.  It was fun to coast down that road, gaining great speed only to plunge into the surf at road's end.  I'd done this once before.

Guam is rich in culture and history,

A. the mysterious latte stones, left from earlier cultures on the island, or

B.  The  remaining Japanese holdout who wasn't captured until 1972, the island was, and remains, one of wonder.

C.  I was pedaling, then coasting, then careening down the coral-surfaced road toward...

D. NCS Beach.

E.  Needless to say I was making great headway.  According to the cigar I was using as an air-speed indicator I was going about thirty-five miles per hour, when, quite unexpectedly, I hit...

F.  some minuscule discontinuity in the road surface which turned the bike into a catapult, sending me hurtling over the handlebars and onto the abrasive coral road surface still at a great rate of speed as the bicycle crashed, rolled, bumped, and clattered down hill with me.

I ended up heaped in a ditch as the bike landed on top of me.  I've no idea how long I was in that position, when I heard an approaching car.

A very nice Chamorro lady, driving by, stopped to give me some water and to summon an ambulance from the base.  Within thirty minutes I was at the base dispensary, quite dazed, having a hospital corpsman removing the coral particles from my bleeding road-rashed arms with a laundry scrub brush.

Although the bike was totaled, I was back to work at my regularly scheduled time, arm in a sling for about three weeks.

And that's what I did in the war children.



Anonymous said...

I spent a couple yrs on Guam 1973-1975 with my husband..we spent a lot of time on NCS beach..loved your little story..brought back such good memories.

Mannie Gentile said...

We were all so young then.