I’d really like to see Cuba on a motorcycle or super-scooter before it turns into an extension of southern Florida. There’s a piece in the current Men’s Journal about a guy who did this a few months ago on a Triumph. Included in the article (which I read last night at LAX) is a story about Steve McQueen and a couple of friends rumbling across Cuba on bikes in ’58 or thereabouts. McQueen’s summary was included in a 1971 Sports Illustrated interview/profile piece:
“We were quite a group. An actor, a poet and a guy who was just plain nuts, or maybe we all were. Hurricane Audrey was sloshing around on the East Coast while we zipped down to Florida. Then we ran from Havana to Santiago, about 967 or so kilometers, as I recall. Batista and Castro were shooting it out down there in the Sierra Maestra, and there were uniforms everywhere. I was still a little wild in those days, particularly when I was on the juice. So what happens? I get thrown in the calabozo.
“I sent a telegram to Neile Adams, my girl, to send money so’s I could get out. Well, she later married me but that time she said no. It wasn’t so bad. The guard was a friendly dude, and he’d let me out of the cell so we could have lunch together — cheese and onions and wine — and that hot sun with the smell of the manzanita and the sewers. I suppose that’s the great romantic lure of the motorcycle — it’s a key to adventure.”