Cover image for Mi moto Fidel : motorcycling through Castro's Cuba
Mi moto Fidel : motorcycling through Castro's Cuba
Baker, Christopher P., 1955-
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Adventure Press/National Geographic, [2001]

Physical Description:
iii, 304 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1765.3 .B34 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Astride his BMW motorcycle, Christopher Baker wanders the highways and byways of Cuba, the first such adventure by a foreigner in the more than 40 years of Fidel Castro's revolution. The moto allows a close-up look at the island and opens the door to a great many intimate encounters with the chrome-obsessed Cubans.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 1997, shortly after the Cuban government shot down two planes being flown by Brothers to the Rescue, Baker slipped into Havana with a large, cherry red, 1,000cc, Paris-Dakar, BMW motorcycle. He had visited Cuba twice before to write travel books and so was already familiar with many of the ways and sights of the country. With this trip, the bike (and the government) allowed an unprecedented amount of freedom, for a North American, to explore. He spent three months touring the country and logged more than 7,000 miles. His engaging narrative records his time with a wide variety of people: from high-ranking government officials, to dissidents, to prostitutes. Whether it was the motorcycle or the natural sensuality of the Cuban people, Baker seems to have spent much of his sojourn bouncing from one intimate liaison to another. His travels go well beyond the bedroom though, and his insights into a country caught between idealism and poverty are fascinating. --Eric Robbins

Publisher's Weekly Review

Often hilarious, sometimes hair-raising, this engaging travelogue documents Baker's journey across Cuba astride a gaudy BMW motorcycle. The thrust of the book is relatively simple: child of the New Left grows up, takes monstrous icon of capitalism to former ideological paradise, locals ooh and ah at the chrome behemoth and the freedom it supposedly represents, writer becomes disenchanted, denounces socialism. Throw in enough skirt chasing by the 41-year-old Baker (a travel and natural science writer) to elicit images of a Yorkshire Mickey Spillane, and you've got an entertaining and thought-provoking, if frequently meandering, tale. Baker encounters an extraordinary cross-section of Cubans, including Fidelistos loyal to el barbudo (a nickname for Castro) and dissenters who speak of betrayal and corruption. Baker's own somewhat "pro-triunfo" beliefs change as he slowly cracks el manto (literally, "the mantle" of ideology and government propaganda) and sees what many believe to be the true product of Castro's regime. Baker's ideological revelation is compromised by his basing his transformation almost entirely on one conversation with a formerly middle-class couple, and by his inability to convince the reader that Cuban corruption has been more devastating than the U.S. economic stranglehold. His dabbling in ideology mars the book slightly; still, if the reader accepts Baker's treatises as nothing more than amateur musings, this account of a marvelously eccentric trip remains a very engaging read. Eight pages of full-color photos. (Feb.) Forecast: The clever cover, in reds and golds, will have browsers lifting this off shelves to see what it's all about. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Political and governmental conflicts between the United States and Cuba have long limited Americans' exposure to life in Cuba, but recent adjustments in relations have resulted in more contact and increased awareness of this enigmatic Caribbean country. Veteran travel writer Baker had completed two travel guides on Cuba (Cuba Handbook and Havana Handbook) but wanted to write a more personal narrative on his experiences researching Cuba. Following the example of Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara, who in 1952 traveled through northern Argentina on a motorcycle, Baker chose the same mode of transportation. Three months of exploring via moto led to this delightful account of the people, life, and politics of Cuba, providing the reader with a good feel for the diverse character of Cuban society. This book will be of interest to travel collections. Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.