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I just returned from testing a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 in Cuba

August 16, 2016
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I just returned from a week riding a Suzuki V-Strom 1000cc in Cuba. What a blast!

August is normally no time to be riding around Cuba. Too hot! Too potentially wet (rainy season runs July through October). Yes, it as hotter than Hades, although I was lucky that it didn’t rain a drop while we were riding.

My riding companions were a small group of Chilean Harley enthusiasts and their wives, including Chilean tour operators Claudio Engber and Roberto Morales.

I was invited to join the group last minute by my Havanatur ground handler who oversees the fleet of Harley-Davidsons and Suzuki V-Stroms that Chris Baker Cuba Motorcycle Tours utilizes for its 8-, 12-, and 14-day itineraries offered through MotoDiscovery, Cross Cultural Journeys and RTW Moto Tours.

SX2A9875 2000px Suzuki V-Strom 1000 at the Che Guevara mausoleum, Santa Clara, Cuba; copyright Christopher P Baker

Suzuki V-Strom 1000 at the Che Guevara mausoleum, Santa Clara, Cuba; copyright Christopher P Baker

The timing proved perfect: The day the Chileans flew to Havana from Santiago de Chile coincided with my final day leading CNN TV anchor Michael Smerconish and his family around Cuba (read my blog post for a report on the trip). I’d scheduled to take my girlfriend on a week-long vacation… so what could be better than a week riding? Accompanied, too, by my close pal Luis Enrique as Cuban road guide.

Previously, my tours have utilized BMW F series and 1200GS motorcycles in Cuba, in addition to a selection of Harleys. So I was keen to test out the Suzuki. It proved nimble and perfectly attuned to the mostly open roads of Cuba, although I would prefer for a broader range of lower gearing.

After a day exploring Havana we set out east along the Autopista (freeway) for overnight at the Bay of Pigs, then via the lovely bayside city of Cienfuegos to the colonial city of Trinidad, on the lower slopes of the Sierra Escambray overlooking the Caribbean. Two nights at the beach permitted time to visit and dine with my close friends Julio Muñoz and his wife Rosa… and for lunch with my equally dear friends Leanys Hernández and her husband (and astoundingly accomplished artist) Lázaro Niebla.

We then rode north through the stunningly scenic eastern slopes of the Sierra Escambray to arrive in Santa Clara, and the mausoleum and museum to revolutionary icon Che Guevara. Then a full-day of riding through farmland and small colonial-era towns led us to the north coast resort of Varadero before our final day’s ride back to Havana.

Join me in 2017 on a fantastic ‘people-to-people’ motorcycle tour of Cuba and let me I introduce you to fascinating friends (artists, baseball players, etc.) as we wheel through Cuba’s sensational landscapes.

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