MI MOTO FIDEL: MOTORCYCLING THROUGH CASTRO'S CUBA is a unique, exhil-arating solo adventure into Cuba astride a cherry-red, 1000cc BMW Paris-Dakar motorcycle. Christopher Baker's moto journey took three months, sparking a love affair with the island and giving him instant entree to a people deprived of - and obsessed with - motorized wheels, especially ones covered by chrome. "Cubans rarely betray a sense of astonishment," he writes in Mi Moto Fidel. "Their lives are so topsy-turvy, there's not much that can surprise them anymore. But the motorbike held them spellbound. With its gloss-red tubular steel frame and armor plating designed to protect the moto from a rhino stampede, the Paris-Dakar was unlike anything ever seen. You'd think I'd landed in a flying saucer." With this opening, Baker met a tremendous variety of Cubans - tobacco growers and hookers, fishermen and santeros, soldiers and dissidents, teachers and shopkeepers - in every corner of the island. He describes the encounters with humor and insight, delves into history and politics, and from his singular vantage presents a close-up look at the island's towns, cities, and landscapes. "The soft texture of Cuba and the microwave heat got to me. It felt intoxicating. Just me and the bike purring steadily along a wide-open road, dipping and rising beneath a cerulean sky."