books home | email me


Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba

Christopher P. Baker

I cruised to Cuba at night like the smuggled human freight in Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not. The boat yawled drunkenly as gunmetal waves smashed violently against the bow. I hung on grimly. "Don't vorry, your bike vill be in Havana," Rolf Runerberg said unconvincingly, his voice rising and dipping like the great swelling sea. The Finnish skipper gripped his bottle of rum. "I hit a rock and we sank last year, but I got her patched up okay."

Just like Patrick Symmes taught me about South America and Che Guevara in Chasing Che, Christopher Baker has taught me about Cuba and Fidel Castro with his Mi Moto Fidel. The books make interesting complements to one another, which isn't really a surprise considering that their subjects (Castro and Guevara) were so closely entertwined. Mi Moto Fidel takes place in Cuba in the mid-1990s, when Baker buys a BMW R100GS Paris-Dakar enduro bike and sets out to write the definitive travel guide to Cuba. There's a special place in his heart for the land, which comes across clearly whether he's praising Cuba for its beauty or voicing his own doubts and concerns over Castro and his government. This is another book on my "must re-read" list, since it's chock full of details about socialism, the everyday life of a Cuban, and the Castro regime in general, which I think bear contemplation. Baker does a great job of describing how being a white man on a motorcycle brings him much attention -- both welcome affection from the cubanas and some not-so-welcome shadowing by the Cuban government. All in all, an interesting read for anyone interested in bike tours, or in just learning more about a country which, frankly, Americans are conditioned to distrust and condescend towards.

Buy it from Whitehorse Press