Our second portrait of Cuban women, the amazing Adriana. A day after our arrival to Cuba we met Adriana Dominguez. She is the wife of Fernando Barreras Rodriguez, a guy who rents Harley-Davidsons in Havana, Cuba. Adrianna (55) is a big fan of swimming, fishing, dancing and of course, riding. She knows how to do Karathé also but that’s another story.
Cuba’s only female Harlista, a lawyer by profession started to ride a bike when she was a teenager. But like most of the Cuban people she had to be happy with Russian Ural and Minsk motorcycles. Her spanish husband Fernando bought himself his first Harley Davidson in 2002. “I was fascinated and I wanted to know If I could ride an Harley Davidson too. It was not enough to sit behind my husband.” One day he asked her finally and in 2006, he bought her a 1942 pink and purple Flathead for her birthday. It takes coordination, balance, and skill to drive an antique Harley. “It’s not easy—but I prefer them to the modern bikes . I drive pretty cautiously, but it’s such a rush, gives me such a sense of freedom, to ride fast on these loud, powerful bikes that never fail to turn heads when they pass. There’s no mistaking the sound of a Harley Davidson!
I prefer highway riding because Harleys are built for speed and I like to drive fast. Havana’s streets, with all the potholes and traffic, are hostile to motorcycles, which is another reason I prefer taking to the open road.
At first there were a lot of doubts about a woman driving a Harley here. Some of the resistance came from other riders who felt their position as kings of the HD world was threatened by a female rider. But I don’t care what other people think and over time I earned respect from my friends and other riders who celebrate my dedication to Harleys. I would like to see more women embracing the Harley habit, I have been into motorcycles since I was a teenager. It takes skill to drive an antique Harley. Cuban women who want to ride often come to me for advice. That’s a positive sign. My feeling is that we need to recapture the feeling of solidarity among all kinds of bikers in Cuba. There have been a lot of divisions and difficulties over the years, but I think we all have to support one another and help each other out.”
Adriana pushes her machine from the garage and performs the ritual of each Harlistas by kick-starting. Kick-starting an old motorcycle is a grand tradition that should be proudly continued. Starting procedures are learned, and every bike is a little different – even the same makes and models are slightly different.The first use of the kick-starter for Harley-Davidson was 1914. As motorcycle engines got larger, manual compression releases helped make starting easier. Up until the mid-seventies, most motorcycles were kick-start only, but electric starters became increasingly more requested by riders, eventually becoming standard equipment on most street machines. « That’s the music!» Adrianna screams. She sits quickly on her Flathead and she disappears in few seconds.
If you want to rent a Harley-Davidson in Cuba : Fernando Barreras Rodriguez +5358242702 [email protected]