Hacks In La Habana...

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by davide, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    I thought you'd like to see a few pics of old Urals 650 in Cuba:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193585580/" title="SANY0723 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6027/6193585580_fb7b4e9106.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0723"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193068287/" title="SANY0722 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6009/6193068287_2de57e3a69.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0722"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193585252/" title="Hack in La Habana by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6135/6193585252_bfd179e4e5.jpg" width="500" height="298" alt="Hack in La Habana"></a>
    #1
  2. fyr

    fyr iRoast Coffee

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    I was in Santa Lucia a couple of years back and a gentleman pulled up and let his wife and 2 kids off at a shop then proceeded to strip his carb down right there. 20 minutes later the bike was running and the family had finished what they had to do and off they went... Wish I had my camera. I did offer to help (in my broken Spanish) but he wasnt having it:wink:
    #2
  3. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    Everybody I met while over there seemed not only quite knowledgeable, but also very skilled in fixing pretty much anything using large hammers, crowbars, wire hangers, wood, tin, aluminum, shoe laces and so forth... Here is some more old school hardware, no hacks though:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193829802/" title="SANY0718 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6156/6193829802_2e5f8eed7d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0718"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193313379/" title="SANY0720 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6175/6193313379_9462369b93.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0720"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193312909/" title="SANY0716 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6176/6193312909_59edb6b119.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0716"></a>

    Overall an interesting experience and the sidecar community is interesting to say the least.
    #3
  4. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    great thread
    nice to see
    flights between tampa and havana have begun after decades of absence
    interesting times ahead
    i appreciate you sharing with us
    #4
  5. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    From here (Costa Rica) it is a short and inexpensive flight... Here is what I borrowed to run around

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193354191/" title="SANY0689 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6156/6193354191_515515910d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0689"></a>

    This car belonged to the wife of Batista pre-revolution. Now it is owned by a friend who is a Harley mechanic and hack enthusiast (strictly Russian iron)

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6193354053/" title="SANY0724 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6020/6193354053_517842f5a4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0724"></a>

    Always interesting to catch a glimpse of how other people live, especially in a nation so isolated from the rest of us... In the end, the hack lover of La Habana is no different from the one living in L.A. And the "Cuban" Ural drives its owner up the wall just as much as the "Italian" or "American" ones :D, only difference being that it is truly a labor of love keeping these old Russian machines on the road in a country where you often have to manufacture your own spares from scratch!
    #5
  6. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    #6
  7. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    Thanx for the suggestion. I will look or it...
    #7
  8. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    i hope that you will be able to "find" it from a Costa Rican IP Address
    please let us know
    #8
  9. ruffshod67

    ruffshod67 Been here awhile

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    the only person at a gas station that ever knew my bike was a ural said he grew up in Cuba.he was pretty amazed with the front disk brake.
    #9
  10. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    These guys know Ivan pretty well! When I asked if Urals were reliable, my Cuban friend (who never left the island) looked at me like I was a turd on the sidewalk and said: "Coño! (F&#%!) They are indestructible." So I replied that I have read on this forum of some pretty spectacular engine failures just to yank his chain a little...
    "What, you cannot replace a piston on the side of the road?! Stop crying like a woman!"
    "Yes, but for $15K I would not expect to have to do it..."
    "You paid $15K for a Ural?!!! You gringos... No wonder you are so screwed up over there... (!)
    Anyway, it is a spectacular island

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6196578930/" title="SANY0660 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6179/6196578930_4d1273e49a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0660"></a>

    and its people are amazingly resilient and creative individuals. They also struggle to survive and are subjected to restrictions that are simply unjust and without sense nowadays.
    It is the perfect environment for a motorcycle built to take abuse rather than to deliver performance. If I were Ural I would use the claim: "German engineered, Russian built, Cuban tested and certified!"

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davide4animals/6196579224/" title="SANY0712 by davide4animals, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6001/6196579224_9595fd4bf4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="SANY0712"></a>
    #10
  11. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    that whole story makes me wonder if COMMUNIST CUBA gets to sell URALS for FAR LESS than we pay in the US... wouldn't THAT be interesting?
    #11
  12. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    There are no sales of "Modern Urals" in Cuba; the only rigs available on the island are those brought over by the Soviets and left after Gorby pulled the plug on Fidel. The Cubans being master riggers, the hacks are still on the road because nothing, not even a bolt or a washer, ever gets junked on the island because of the difficulties in obtaining parts due to the embargo (which btw has provided THE BEST excuse for Castro, who has done a masterful job of blaming the US for the failure of his regime from an economic point of view... If we had freely traded with him, like we have always done with countless other regimes, my guess is that we would have sped up the democratization process.)
    Anyway, the prices that we are used to often appear unbelivable to people in less developed nations. When I told friends here in Costa Rica that I used to pay $85 labor for my Ducati in California, they looked at me in disbelief...
    #12
  13. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    i appreciate the education
    i spent many years in miami... having attended the university of miami from 1980-84... so, i suppose i have a strong opinion of cuba and castro because of my time there... for better or worse, of course
    #13
  14. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    I know what you mean... I lived 12 yrs in Miami and taught kayaking at FIU: back then it was mostly a commuter school in the sense that many students were grown ups, with family and jobs. Many had come from Cuba on rafts and we would have long conversations about the differences between our countries. The main issue overthere is the lack of freedom, what is interesting though is the high level when it comes to education, medical research and animal welfare. Clearly Cuba is not a developing nation like Costa Rica or other Central American countries or islands of the Caribbean. More like Mexico, great history and culture, but presently suffering from a number of issues. The motorcycle community overthere is alive and well though. I wouldlove to go back, borrow a Ural and tour the entire island from La Habana to Santiago... It would be a great adventure.
    #14
  15. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    i have been asked to go before, as a physician... i wish i'd had the time (and coverage for my practice) to do so.
    one day i will go.... would LOVE to tour the country
    see the state of medicine there
    ride
    eat
    enjoy the culture and learn
    one day... i hope
    #15
  16. fyr

    fyr iRoast Coffee

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    Been there in front of that citadel after touring Legendario rum distillery and was mobbed by the kissing girls.. :wink:

    #16
  17. Lee 303

    Lee 303 razryadka

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    Check out the film Yank Tanks to see how the Cuban mechanics and body men keep the old pre embargo Detriot stuff running. They reproduce trim parts to supply the rest of the world. One fellow was making replacement windshields in his backyard . It's a great documentary film and shows what old school mechanics can do with very limited resources.
    #17
  18. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    more about that issue:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yank_tank

    and.....
    the movie:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0312048/

    and:

    http://homepage.mac.com/yanktanks/

    and.... to BUY the movie on AMAZON.COM
    (spanish, with english subtitles):

    http://www.amazon.com/Yank-Tanks-Carros-Classicos-Cuba/dp/B0001LYFRC
    #18
  19. rathackman

    rathackman Been here awhile

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    This is a great thread Davide. I join Greg in his thanks for the education.

    Greg, I have a friend, a retired guts and butts surgeon and a RTW BMW motorcyclist who works some times with "Doctors without Borders" in various places like Liberia, Sri Lanka, etc. and he says as the result of that work he has an entirely different view and respect for Cuba than he had previously. Apparently they export medicine and medical personnel all over the developing world. More so than many other countries.

    He was very impressed at the willingness to help other countries with real people and real medical supplies....I remember that they used to export military personnel to fight in many struggles against oppressive governments in much of that same world.

    Interesting. Cuba remains on my bucket list. I have a few friends who have traveled there, usually flying from Mexico or Canada....
    Brian
    #19
  20. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

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    DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS IS the group to which my friends belong.... and the organization which has been asking me to go to Cuba for many years. i'm sorry i have yet to be able to find the time to go. they do amazing work.
    #20