About fifteen years ago I joined the American Flyers Motorcycle Club (known as AFMC or simply the “Flyers”). It is an eclectic group that shares a passion for adventure riding. Our club motto is “high mileage, low expectations.” The Flyers have taken dozens of domestic and international rides together. Our global tours have included the Dalmatian Coast, Italy, Turkey, France, Spain, and New Zealand. Domestically, we have ridden the California coast and the Adirondack Park and everything in-between. Each year there is also the highly coveted “Canyon Run” in Utah. The Flyers are a tremendous group of diverse, interesting, and accomplished individuals. The camaraderie is hard to beat. From a social perspective, the club has been a source of life-long friends, great networking, and even business opportunities.
For “offshore” trips, the Flyers often enlist the help of MotoDiscovery. Founded in 1981 by Skip Mascorro, MotoDiscovery is the top motorcycle adventure touring company on the planet. Over the years Skip has organized many high quality rides for our group. While in Cuba last spring I was stranded on a tour bus in thick Havana traffic when I saw a gaggle of brand new BMW motorcycles zoom past us. I did a double take. Seeing anything in Cuba that is both new and motorized is a rare event. But seeing a new BMW 1200 GS on the streets of Havana was like seeing a unicorn! I asked our fabulous tour guide Alicia about it and she said that a company called “MotoDiscovery” had been granted a license to give motorcycle tours of Cuba. There I was on a bus in Havana and Skip drove right by me! I borrowed Alicia’s cell phone and within minutes was talking to Skip. It was a classic “aha!” moment. I instinctively knew what had to be done. From the Saratoga Hotel in Havana I sent out an email to the Flyers distribution list proposing a spring 2016 Cuba tour.
The rest is history. The AFMC Cuba-Castro Ride was born!
We depart Miami on April 1st. It will be a fun-filled trip. I will even get to celebrate my 46th birthday on April 7th in the town of Santa Clara. I will try to send updates from the road, although internet access in rural Cuba is all but nonexistent. Below is our itinerary from MotoDiscovery.
American Flyers Motorcycle Club Cuba Ride
April 1 -10, 2016
This event has been specially prepared for the American Flyers Motorcycle Club and friends. As we all know Cuba is undergoing a transition with a normalizing of relations with the USA. This has created a high demand to experience this island before “the change” forever dissolves that character that we so identify as being Cubana. There is no better time to experience Cuba than now!
Participants must accept that the island, especially outside of Havana, lacks infrastructure to accommodate the luxury traveler. We understand that style is an important part of the American Flyers Motorcycle Club travel experience. Homestays in casa particulares will be a part of the program. However this should not be a deterrent. Even our most discriminating riding guests have embraced the experience for what it is…authentic.With the proper expectation, we feel the American Flyers MC will easily overlook any inconvenience and favor the opportunity to be in Cuba, now, during this historically significant period.
As of this writing the embargo is still in place. MotoDiscovery is still obligated to be compliant with the license issued by the USA Office of Foreign Assets Control, dictating that we have a full schedule of “people to people” activities that promote meaningful engagement with the people of Cuba. We consider this added value as we strive to provide you with a touring experience that is more than just a ride. You will get to know the real Cuba.
We look forward to once again traveling with the American Flyers. Your commitment is needed soon as we must secure preferred accommodations and services.
Thank you again for this opportunity to share the road with you.
Skip Mascorro, FOUNDER, MotoDiscovery
Day 1 Miami FRI Apr 1 The tour officially begins with your arrival Miami, ideally before 5 p.m. for briefing followed by dinner.
Day 2 Havana SAT Apr 2 anticipate an early departure with transfers to the Miami International Airport (MIA). A short flight of approximately 40 minutes. On arrival Havana, transfers will take us directly to lunch followed by transfers to the Hotel Saratoga in the heart of the city and easy walking distance to the old city. A dinner will be scheduled at one of the city’s best paladares, privately owned restaurants.
Day 3 Havana SUN Apr 3 our first morning in Havana will consist of a very short familiarization ride along the malecon, ocean boulevard along with a couple of people to peopleopportunities and chance to visit the cigar factory and to stock up! A walking tour of the old city will provide historical perspective as well as an opportunity to visit the outdoor museum of the Missile Crisis located adjacent to the Castillo de Morro fortress.
Day 4 Playa Larga MON Apr 4 (178 miles) after breakfast depart Havana, riding east along the coast then dropping south to the Caribbean side of the island where overnight will be in a “casa particular” a simple private home on the Bay of Pigs adjacent to the Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata. You will enjoy fresh seafood and warm hospitality of this gracious family.
Day 5 Trinidad TUE Apr 5 (115 miles) the ride will take you to a nearby crocodile farm where you will learn of efforts to preserve a native species. The turbulent years of the Cold War will come to life as you visit the Museum dedicated to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Lunch in Cienfuegos but not before visiting the Botanical Garden Soldedad. Leisurely riding will eventually take you to the delightful town of Trinidad known for its colonial era architecture. the region once the center of a wealthy sugar producing empire.
Day 6 Trinidad WEDS Apr 6 A second day here will include a walking tour of the town. A specially arranged visit with well known horse whisperer and local entrepreneur, Julio Munoz will prove enlightening as you learn more about how business functions in this socialist state. You must spend the evening adjacent to the steps of the stunning Cathedral Santisma Trinidad where nightly musical performances bring out locals and travelers alike to dance through the night to the pulsating rhythms of Cuban music
Day 7 Santa Clara THURS Apr 7 (110 miles) riding again to the island interior you will visit the monument, museum and mausoleum dedicated to Cuban revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. There are numerous opportunities for people to peopleexchanges in route including a fascinating visit to a bee farm where queen bees are raised for distribution throughout the island.
Day 8 Playa Beach FRI Apr 8 (125 miles) You’ll appreciate one night on the beach in a luxury all inclusive resort. The beaches of Vadadero are famous
Day 9 Havana SAT Apr 9 (90miles) you will enjoy a short ride back to the capital where a lecture by the country’s prominent architect and historian will provide insight into the history of Havana and the challenges ahead as it faces crumbling infrastructure and temptation to put modernization before the need to preserve the city’s heritage and character. The legendary Tropicana floor show may be on your list of Havana highlights.
Day 10 HAVANA MIAMI SUN Apr 10 Transfers to the airport for flight back to Miami USA.