The Cat and the Motorcycle | Guglatech Fuel Filters

Image: Martin Klauka

Image: Martin Klauka

Image: Martin Klauka - "Mogli"

Image: Martin Klauka - "Mogli"

Martin Klauka and Mogli

We’ve all heard of travelling dogs, in sidecars or carriers on motorcycles, but a cat? While on a motorcycle trip in Morocco, Martin Klauka met up with a stray cat. Feeling compassion for the dirty and flea ridden cat he decided to keep it, but if he was going to bring the cat along with him, it would have to ride on his bike. Since that day, Martin and his cat, Mogli, have been together, and Mogli has a first class seat in the tank bag of Martin’s motorcycle. 



Guglatech: Guglielmo Ferrazzani

Image: Guglielmo Ferrazzani - Guglatech

Image: Guglielmo Ferrazzani - Guglatech

Guglatech is a company in Italy that designs, develops, produces and distributes a fuel filtration system for motorcycles, scooters and other vehicles that helps protect them from fuel contamination. In this episode, Jim talks to Guglielmo Ferrazzani, owner of Guglatech to find out about the unique fuel filters he makes for specifically for motorcycles. 

These fuel filters area available through BestRest Products:



Interviewer: Jim Martin | Guests: Guglielmo Ferrazzani & Martin Klauka | Photos: Guglielmo Ferrazzani & Martin Klauka

This transcript has been created from the original audio episode released April 26, 2018. This transcript may have been modified to make reading easier. As Adventure Rider Radio shows are meant to be listened to and not read, the following script may contain some grammatical and other errors. You can also listen to this interview by downloading the episode.


Jim (Narrate): Well, many riders love a challenge. From rider skills to traveling on a specific bike that makes the trip more difficult, or maybe demanding a higher skill level of themselves. So if you ride a vintage bike around the world, you can imagine that parts and breakdowns is going to be your challenge. Even a side car rig offers some challenge as far as getting it maybe on and off boats, flying it places, and as well as a bunch of benefits, too. But, traveling with animals, well that’s another type of challenge altogether. But it’s not unheard of. Because, unlike an old bike or a side car set up, that may require some hunting for parts or finding new ways of transporting your rig…traveling with animals becomes not only a logistical program, with dealing with the animals themselves (the food, the waste, things like that), but unlike a vintage bike, animals are screened at border crossings. And they need to be kept contained on your bike when you stop just about anywhere. So they need a lot of supervision; at your campsite, at hotels…and what about other cultures, and how they view animals? There’s a lot of different things to deal with here. Well, you probably have been imaging a dog as I’m talking about an animal, because we’ve had travellers on the show in the past with dogs. Like {?} and his dog, Spirit, which sadly has passed away recently. But today we’re going to talk about somebody that picked up a scraggly, flea-ridden cat that nobody wanted, put it on his motorcycle, and decided to travel with it. He’s managed to get it from one country to another by all means; including smuggling. Stay with us for that. But first, we’re going to talk about a filter for your motorcycle that you’re not going to want to travel without after you hear this. If you’re ever worried about getting a bad batch of fuel in your gas tank, you should be. Because most bikes nowadays, with fuel injection, have a filter inside their tank that is an absolute dog to get at. Well, to avoid those problems, there is a filter out now that you can use around home, or when you’re travelling, and I really think that you’re not going to want too leave home without it. Stay with us for more. My name’s Jim Martin, this is Adventure Rider Radio. Stay with us- we’ve got a good one for you. 

PROLOGUE (Guglatech Fuel Filters)

Jim (Narrate): Fuel is obviously a big deal for us motorcyclists; getting the right grade, and making sure we get the good quality fuel…but, dirty fuel, is an even bigger deal. Because, what can begin as a nice ride, can end up being a total nightmare…with just one tank of dirty fuel. And that’s whether you’re close to home, or on a long trip. Dirty fuel, it can be found anywhere; even your mainstream gas stations. But we found at least one solution here that, well, quite frankly I think should be included with every motorcycle as a factory part. 

INTERVIEW (Guglielmo Ferrazzani, Guglatech Fuel Filters)

Guglielmo: Okay, I am Guglielmo Ferrazzani. I was born in Italy, I came from Naples, in the south. I started actually having bad luck with the KTM, and now we are producing…I would say, the most advanced fuel filter system/air filter system, in the world. Because we focus on protection, rather than just performance. 

Jim: Guglielmo, welcome to Adventure Rider Radio.

Guglielmo: It’s a pleasure, thank you for inviting me. 

Jim: Now, you also go by Bill, right?

Guglielmo: The question is…Yeah, actually, the name Guglielmo is William in English. And since the {?} is impossible to pronounce properly (myself, I cannot), I just tend to tell people- listen, call me Bill. 

Jim: Well, you make a fuel filter. Now, you’ve designing this fuel filter to go into the filler neck of motorcycles. The reason it’s of such interest for us here on ARR, is that a lot of listeners travel and go places where the chances of getting dirty fuel (and I’m saying dirty fuel as in the crap in the fuel itself) is really high. And water can be found anywhere. So, let’s start off with you describing what this filter is. 

Guglielmo: You know, sometimes we think that the petrol’s dirty only in remote areas. Actually, petrol is a solvent; wherever it goes, it takes everything along with it. Because, it’s amazingly fluid, it’s very thin, and it’s great at doing it’s job. Just cleaning off the surfaces. So actually, when you go in remote areas, sometimes what you find is very big chunks of debris in the fuel. Not small ones that we have here in Europe and in the US…where you have a good {?} system that there is fine particles. And these will be dragged along by the fuel in your tank. What happened to me: I was traveling with my {?} on the {?} adventure in 2007/beginning of 2008. I was making a small tour, I was living at that time in Barcelona, Spain. I went to visit my parents, they were at sea at the time, in {?}, Italy. I got stranded starting through France. I couldn’t believe it. The bike was brand new, not even 10,000 kilometres. And, I stopped, I removed the fuel pump, which was a mess, and everything was dark. I was thinking- okay, that’s something wrong. Maybe I was refuelling and…you know, cheated me or something. I started to check what was going on. After 5,000 kilometres, I got stranded again. This time in Spain. It was again for blocked fuels…the fuel filters, sorry. This drove me mad. From that moment I started studying what was happening, and why was this happening to the new bikes? Because in the past, when we had carburetors, it was so easy-peasy. You could, maybe yes, find something dirty some big chunks in the tank. But you could easily clean it. Those monthly carburetors, {?}…even with your friends, with a beer. But now- so easy. I mean, what we find out is that the electronic fuel injection on cars works perfectly, but bikes have been designed to be more compact. So we don’t have the big units, we don’t have the more strong fuel pumps…we have a more delicate system. Which lasts longer than carburetors, even though nobody believes it. But it needs much more attention. In the end, it’s all about this; all protection. I tried to designed a filter that could be easily installed, either on a new bike, or an old bike. We cover, at the moment, 97% of all produced bikes in the world. But it can effectively protect both. Electronic fuel injection bikes, and carburetor bikes. 

Jim: So describe the filter itself.

Guglielmo: Well, its concept is keep everything clean. So keep the dirt outside the tank. Once you install the filter, you separate the tank and the fuel pump, which now at the moment is in {?} tanks, because of safety reasons. Due to safety reasons, sorry. Forgive my English. Anyway. So what you do, you create a chamber where all the dirt in the water will be trapped inside the filter, and will not reach the pump itself. So while you are refuelling, the fuel will go through the filter, and all the dirt and the fine particles down to 10 microns and sometimes below 10 microns, will be trapped in the {?} of the filter. Plus the water, free water, will be just floating inside the filter, because it cannot go inside the membrane. And whatever reaches the fuel pump and the fuel filter is actually clean fuel. Whatever the fuel and the fuel filter will no problem process and push the {?} injection system.

Jim: So basically what we’re talking about here, is a fabric sac that is slid into the fuel filler neck, and it sits in there. So when you’re pumping the fuel in, it pumps into the sac and forces the fuel through the sac, and that’s where the fuel filtering process happens.

Guglielmo: Yes, exactly. Usually it’s called a sock. A filter sock.

Jim: Okay, so the filter sock.

Guglielmo: The shape is…exactly. 

Jim: So when it gets dirty, you can just simply pull this sock out, empty it out, clean it out, and you’re re-using it.

Guglielmo: You know, there are three things that people keep asking me continuously. First of all; how long do they last? Second; am I supposed to check if they are clean or not? And third; do I have to clean them often? And the answer actually is always the same; let them work. We designed this {?} to be not only long-lasting (because a filter is almost a life-long item), but the more dirty it will get, the better it will start filtering. We made sure that, that’s called a {?}, whatever it’s not {?} will be a small hole where the fuel/the fluid will pass through. The more dirt that will accumulate at the rims of these holes, the smaller the hole will be. But the fluid will go through. This means that from 12 microns, you go down to 8 microns, while the filter gets dirtier. If you clean it, which you can, but you shouldn’t, the filter will get down to 8 microns and below yet, and get better and better with the kilometres. So you start by buying a very good filter, and you end up with a very nice filter system.

Jim: So how do you know when you are supposed to clean it then?

Guglielmo: The filter has a huge enemy. It’s tar. Once tar has reached the filter, it will laminate it, and nothing will go through it. But unless you really have the filter going very, very slow…which means {?} minutes just to let pass a couple of cc’s…let the filter work. Another very nice part of this filter is that the water will not pass in big quantities. Small quantities are just normal in the petrol. You have up to 4% of normal good water in the petrol. Which will also enrich the combustion, make it stronger, because of the oxygen added to the explosion. But, when there’s too much water, the fuel cannot pass where the water is, so you will suddenly realize that they are cheating you. Because the filter will become very slow very fast. You have to stop, take out the filter, check what’s going on, and maybe call the police and leave the {?} petrol station at once.

Jim: So how does the filter work? You talked about the tiny hole. So basically what we’re looking at is a fabric that is just a very fine fabric that you’ve made into a sock. That’s the basic filter itself. 

Guglielmo: All filters are basically just this; very thin matrix, or {?}, or…you can also {?}…with thread overlocking onto each other until you have very small holes. {?}, it’s not the {?}, because it’s a special matrix developed by a process. This makes the holes not only very small, but also very precious, and statically they are also precise in the position where they are, in comparison to the rest of the other holes. So it’s a complex but also very dramatically semantic matrix, which makes it fast and very effective. But the concept is that, the fuel can go only through the holes. The smaller the hole, the better the filtration will be. 

Jim: And when you stitch these things together, how do you stop the stitch holes from actually puncturing the fabric and letting things go through? 

Guglielmo: Well, technology at this moment gives us 5 choices. First, is having a thread that is self sealing. It’s used also in clothing when you have Gortex or other compounds. they have Teflon on the thread. While passing through, the teflon melts and closes up the holes. It’s not in out case, because our matrix is not based on a compound. It’s not {?} process, like Gortex clothes for examples. Then you have welding systems. Then you have seamless systems which is just welding the system with a laser for example. In our case, it’s a double process. We have microson with special low-point thread. Plus we have the welding process. So all out filters are welded shut. 

Jim: Now you have these available for most motorcycles (models)?

Guglielmo: 97% of all motorcycles produced in the world. 

Jim: 97%?

Guglielmo: Yep. 

Jim: Wow, that’s great. 

Guglielmo: Thank you.

Jim: What’s the installation like?

Guglielmo: Installation…the most complicated installation will require to dismantle the plastics, remove the fuel cap, and install the filter below the fuel cap. This is the most complicated. 

Jim: And is hat more difficult for something like an F800 that has one of the snap-down lids? Is that one of the more complicated ones? 

Guglielmo: No, that one is the easiest. It’s a {?} system, 8 magnets, each of it can hold up to 2.2 kilograms. And you open the lid, install the filter, which will snap instantly to the walls, and you can’t remove it, it’s very strong.

Jim: Wow.

Guglielmo: That’s the easiest one. Or you have the screw cap, like {?} or the {?} safari tanks, or a {?} one (you know, with the clock)…screw; that’s also very easy. The one I was referring to for example is the {?} 1190, because the filter sits below the neck filler, inside the tank It’s just because of the shape of the neck filler. While otherwise, the BMW 1200 for example, the newest generation (the liquid cool)…you open the cap, you push down the adapter, and {?} inside the hole.

Jim: So for the most part, it’s a very simple installation. It’s just dropping it in. It’s just with a few models where you’re going to have to do a little bit more work, but none of it’s very complicated.

Guglielmo: Sure. No, the is no modification necessary to any kind of neck, or there are no holes to be drilled, no attachment required…it’s very simple.

Jim: It sound to me like something that the motorcycle manufacturers left out, and should have had. I mean, of course, you don’t want that. You don’t want that. But what I’m saying is, it seem like such a basic…like, why would you want to get crap in a gas tank, and have to deal with pulling you fuel filter out, when you can stop it right at the beginning? It just to me seem like a no-brainer. 

Guglielmo: Okay. I have to answer to this with a small story. I think you’re pretty young, so I don’t know if you know the K BMW created in the 80’s, maybe the most reliable engine ever built. IT was called the flat engine. I don’t know if you know the K version, the 1100-

Jim: Yeah, the flying brick. 

Guglielmo: Exactly. That engine was basically designed to run…I think it was 1,000,000 miles. {?} a bike. And rumour is, that suddenly the dealers said- you know BMW, very nice, very classy, we love it…can you stop producing it? Because they never break down. So, the point is, we are in a world where you need to change parts, you need the whole process. If you stop buying parts, the whole world will collapse. I know it sounds creepy, but, no. You need maintenance on bikes, and parts. So you need to change your fuel filters. What we would like, maybe what we would have liked, the big brothers and sisters to do, would have been to have less delicate systems. Okay, I have to change my fuel filter. Fine. But please, don’t let me be stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere without knowing something will happen. Most of the recent bikes, those are coming form Japan, they have such strange fuel filters that they can’t be changed. So suddenly you’re in the middle of nowhere, and you take down the fuel pump. You find very tiny components, plastics mainly, that if you try to take them apart, they will crumble in your hands. And this is, in my opinion, very bad. Because, we are a huge community. We love to travel. We are bikers. More bikes means more fun. And you have to trust you vehicle, you have to trust all components on it. Otherwise, there is no fun anymore. And I agree with you. It should be a standard issue on bikes, but I suppose that for the most part we are {?} as customers, not as riders. I don’t know if I can express that concept. We are just there to buy new stuff, not really there to enjoy what we bought, as we’re supposed to change it every six months.  

Jim: So what you’re doing is upsetting the natural balance of economics for the motorcycle companies. I’m not sure that’s a good thing for them.

Guglielmo: They will come after me eventually. I know it.

OUTRO (Guglatech Fuel Filters)

Jim (Narrate): I was speaking with Guglielmo Ferrazzani from Guglatech Filters in Italy. But here’s the thing; when we found this filter, I got very excited about it for all the reasons that you just heard us talk about there, and I got further excited because I found that it’s distributed in North America. So if you’re here, you can order it here. And then again, because it’s actually one of our advertisers that has it, it’s BestRest products who’s the distributor for us. So, if you want the filter, you can just go to BestRest products, and you can order it right there. But to me, it seems like something that we all should have on our motorcycles. It could just save you so much heartache. Not an ad for it, this isa filter that we found, but we were very pleased to find it’s available to BestRest. And of course, that link is on our website and in our show notes. 


PROLOGUE (The Cat and the Motorcycle)

Jim (Narrate): Honestly, I’m not sure if I should be introducing Martin, the motorcycle traveler, or Mogli, the cat traveler. Because, from what I can tell, Mogli is the one that’s calling the shots on this one. 

INTERVIEW (Martin Klauka, The Cat and the Motorcycle)

Martin: My name is Martin. Martin Klauka. I’m from Germany. And, what I do…I’m not sure to be honest. Right now I’m traveling. I started quite a big road trip in August last year. I started in Germany, and drove my motorbike 13,000 kilometres all the way to Dubai. Just to change my life, and see where it takes me. Just to get out of the cycle, out of the normal life. I’m going to {?} on Friday. Yes, I made it to Dubai. I am working on picking up money right now because I’m quite broke to be honest. I just go try work visa. I got a job. I’m working here until July. And the plan is then to go to India. India and Naples. My friend’s going to join me, I have a very good friend in Dubai that I’m staying with right now. And, after that, I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ll have to really see what’s happening. 

Jim: Martin, welcome to Adventure Rider Radio.

Martin: Thanks for having me. 

Jim: Where did you get into motorcycling?

Martin: It’s something I always really enjoyed. Being on a motorbike, or just thinking about riding, I kind of always feel like a kids that’s really eager to do something. Like I get the tingling in my hands and my butt when I want to go, when I want to get on it. So I started riding little motorbikes, 50cc’s, when I was a kid, when I was maybe like, 12 years old. And what we would do, is we would go in the woods and just go off-roading and go out with friends. Try to get away from police or whatever’s trying to catch us. And at the end of the day, because they were like all GDR engines, they were like 30/40 year old bikes…we would always have a session where we would just sit together in a work shop, and try to fix whatever went wrong. And there was always something to fix. So I’ve done that for a while. And got my license, my first license…in Germany you have to get two, a smaller license and the bigger one…so I got the smaller one when I was 16. Didn’t ride much because I didn’t have a bike, just the small 50cc. I got the bigger one when I was 18. I got the 125cc Suzuki, and it broke after maybe two months. The cylinders were gone, and I didn’t have a bike again. So all I could think of then when I was thinking of motorbikes was street bikes. Something that was very fast. I knew I wouldn’t be able to pull myself together, I would have probably killed myself on it. So I made the decision not to buy a bike and just let it be for a while. So I haven’t been riding since I was 18. I’m 32 now. I haven’t been riding at all. 

Jim: So what you’re saying is, you started out life as a criminal with your motorcycle. With your evading police.

Martin: Yeah, well…

Jim: That always sounds so bad, when you’re trying to stay away from police as they chase you. I assume because you’re riding your motorcycle or your dirt-bike somewhere you shouldn’t be.

Martin: Yeah, well 12/13 years old…the bikes weren’t registered, and we probably didn’t even wear a helmet. The lights were not working and whatever…like, they were not safe to ride, I guess, in a sense.

Jim: and did they ever catch you?

Martin: No. They had they big end Euro bikes with he {?} on the side, and we had these slim 50cc’s. And we’re in the middle of the woods, so we’d just escape through the woods. They never got us. 

Jim: So you’re a successful criminal as well. You managed to evade capture. 

Martin: Absolutely, absolutely. Yes, yes. 

Jim: Well, so you got away from bikes for a while, but then you decided to go on a trip. Sort of give us an idea of what made you decide to break away. 

Martin: It was in 2015, and it was kind of my first attempt of escaping normal life, I guess. I went to south-east Asia for 3 months with a good friend of mine. We did a road trip down there using buses, tuk-tuk’s, and boats, ferries…whatever we could find. We were just traveling through Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. And in Cambodia…like, we read about these people that ride their motorbikes through Vietnam, and we were like, just thinking about it. We were really happy already. But then when we read up a bit more on it, and it seemed quite dangerous, so we weren’t sure what we were going to do. But then {?}, we just made the decision- okay, we’re going to go up to Hanoi, we’re going to buy bikes there. And I actually got the bike right on my birthday. It kind of found it’s way to me, which was nice. We were doing some sight-seeing, and then there was this Swedish dude pushing a 100cc Honda Win, with this sign on it that says for sale. So I got the bike for $200, and the next day we got another bike for my friend. And they’re really crappy bikes, they’ve probably done like 500,000 kilometers, and everything has been replaced already. So they break down a lot. We ended up going at least 15 times to the mechanic, and getting something fixed, in one month.

Jim: Hang on, hang on. Back up to that part where you said, the guy shows up with a bike with a sign. 

Martin: We got to Hanoi, things weren’t going good. Like, we’d spent 36 hours on the bus. We were exhausted. We were scammed at least 5 times in a row, which was really annoying. Because, they had new things that we didn’t know about. Fake taxis and all that. And, instead of looking for a bike, which we really wanted to do because we wanted to get out of Hanoi, we kind of ended up in the bar and spent the night there. Got up late the next morning, and it seemed like we were not going to find a bike this day. And, I really wanted to see that prison there, the Hoa Lo prison. And yeah, we went to see the prison, and just as we were finished, on the way out, there’s a Swedish backpacker. He just rode this bike from Saigon up to Hanoi. He wanted to sell it, and I wanted to buy it. So, you know, it was just lucky he came along. I like the bike, and he sold it to me. And he’s got a good friend of him who rode with him, and he had a second bike. So the second bike my friend got. So instead of looking for bikes, we really just went out and enjoyed ourselves, had fun, and the bikes found us. That’s how we got out bikes in Vietnam. 

Jim: Was he literally pushing it toward you with a sign on it that says for sale?

Martin: Yeah, not towards me. He was parking it in the prison in the reception area. He was also visiting the same prison. He came out, and went to push it out to start it and go back to his hostel, and we came out at the same time. So we just saw a sign on it that said for sale. Yeah. So we got it. 

Jim: Delivered right to you. So do you think that’s law of attraction or something? 

Martin: Generally speaking, it’s something that happens quite often to me. I guess it’s when you just let things happen. When you don’t push things, and you don’t force things. You just have something that you want to do, but you don’t force anything. You just let it happen. Things normally do find their way to me. So it’s kind of an attitude in life, I guess. So this time again, it worked out. That’s also kind of how I made it to Dubai. I just kind of start and then see where this goes. 

Jim: So you sort of started off that way. You got the bike and then sort of went off exploring. 

Martin: Yeah, we just got the bike, and we just started out. We didn’t know anything. We didn’t know the routes, we didn’t know about the culture, we literally didn’t know anything. Didn’t know any Vietnamese. We didn’t even know whether we would be allowed to drive, I think we weren’t. But no-one really cares, so. 

Jim: So this was a small rip you did, then you went back home?

Martin: Yeah. That was a trip through Vietnam. We drove it for 3,000 kilometres. 3077 kilometres through Vietnam, and got down to Saigon. It was at that moment when I kind of decided that I really, really, really want to travel on a motorbike. It just makes it so much different when you travel on a motorbike compared to having a bus or a flight or whatever that brings you to all the tourist destinations. The people that you meet on the way, the experiences that you make, the problems that you get into, and the way you solve them and get out of them…it just completely changes. So I really wanted to do it on a bike. It also was a lot of fun, obviously. So, I got back home form that trip in 2015, and started looking for a bike. Got a Honda there. A Honda NTV, just because it was cheap, and I was around. I drove that for a year. And in the meantime, I did some research on what bike I wanted to have. I came up with my Africa Twin. When I was preparing and getting the bike, I figured I would just go and visit my good friend in Dubai, and take things from there. 

Jim: What about work?

Martin: I quit my job, and I quit my flat. I sold things that I could sell. I gave away things that I could give away. I still have like three boxes of things. But that’s it. I just got rid of everything. Freed myself from all that stuff that no-one needs, really, and got going. 

Jim: And what was the plan at that point? 

Martin: Just to start. If you make a plan, then pretty much, it’s not going to work out. 

Jim: What about the whole money thing? You know, trying to figure out if you have enough money to get where you want to go, all of that stuff in advance. How did you think that through?

Martin: Well, I did save up some money. I was generally living fairly cheap. Didn’t buy anything that I didn’t need. I was living very basic. So I just saved up as much money as I could. I figured I would have definitely have enough to get to Dubai. Worst case scenario, to afford a flight back to Germany. And that’s what I had, so I just started hoping that I’m going to make some money here. Really excited, like a movie to just watch what’s going to happen with my life once I do that first step, and once I start going. Just to see where that goes. 

Jim: Well, somewhere along your travels, you came across a stray cat. Can you talk about that first encounter? 

Martin: That was actually before this trip to Dubai. That was in 2017. My friend asked me if I wanted to come on a little trip to Morocco. He wanted to go through the Atlas Mountains. I figured I would have enough money to just do this trip. And get some more experience on the bike as well. Because really, I don’t have that much experience. So I figured it would be good practice. And not he second last day of that trip, just as we were on our way back, we met some people that we met earlier. So we were having a bit of a get together. And then that cat comes up. She was full with fleas. She was in bad shape, and bad health. She was kind of starving, and she didn’t have any food. she was really, really skinny. She came up to me, and she laid down on my arm and just fell asleep. She was very cold, too. So she just really need a warm and safe place to get some energy. So I carried her around the whole evening with me. People were laughing at me, they were making fun of me. 

Jim: Because it’s covered in fleas. It’s a street cat.  

Martin: It’s a street cat. It’s not normal in Morocco. People wouldn’t even feed them. So they don’t have empathy towards street cats, I guess. Because there’s so many of them, too. I tried to figure out where her mother would be, and they laughed and they told me that it was run over by a car. I asked- what’s going to happen to this cat now? Is anybody going to feed it? What usually the normal course of action here? And they laughed again and said- oh, well, it’s going to die. So I felt really sorry at that point, and she obviously took a liking to me. So I just smuggled her into our hotel, and went for a night of sleep. Thought- I’m going to make up my mind in the morning. When I got up in the morning, it was still the same situation, I guess. And I was like- well, if you want to come with me, then you’re going to have to ride the motorbike. Yeah. That’s when I put her on. 

Jim: So you got this cat that’s all covered in fleas, and sort of a dirty looking cat, what do you do with it in the hotel room? You try and de-flea it? 

Martin: No, just took it with me in my bed. She was actually sleeping under the blanket. Just took one for the team, I guess. 

Jim: Just the idea of sleeping with a flea ridden cat. It’s just a little much. 

Martin: You should have seen her, though. She was very cute. I guess I’ve done worse. 

Jim: So then you decide- okay, that’s it. You’re going to take the cat. And you’ve to figure out… Now, for anybody who knows cats, and I think most people do, you realize that, a cat is probably not going to go on a motorcycle very well at all. What did it do when you put it on the bike?

Martin: Well, that’s what I thought. I thought- well, I’m just going to give it a try, and see what happens. She was scared about the first half an hour. I mean, we did take to dirt roads just right in the beginning. So the first thing she rode on was actually dirt roads. She was quite scared. She peed in it, she shat in it. I put some paper in, and the next time I wanted to change the paper, she didn’t do it anymore. She just kind of got used to it. She did try to come out, and jump off the bike right in the beginning, after maybe like 10 minutes. I put her back in, and then she just stayed in, and she accepted it. After about half abhor maybe, she was fine. I opened it, she came out, she smelled what’s around, looked around…she went playing gin the grass, and stayed around me because she felt safe. So there was only the border to cross, obviously. Because it it quite dangerous to smuggle a cat from Morocco to Germany. That went well, too. 

Jim: Hang on a second. What do you mean- that went well? You said, it’s dangerous to smuggle a cat…so you took it through the normal channels, and got it approved?

Martin: No, you can’t. It’s impossible. She has to be at least 3 months old to be vaccinated. Then you can vaccinate her, and you have to wait at least a month for the blood to adopt to the vaccination. To build the antibodies. And then you have to go to a laboratory, then you have to wait for at least another 2 weeks to get the results back. So, like the earliest you can take her is after like maybe 4 months, or something. I really didn’t have that time, so it was not an option. I was just taking her, hoping everything went well, they didn’t see her, and then just going for it, really. 

Jim: Yeah. Don’t ask, don’t tell sort of thing  as you’re going through the border check.

Martin: Yeah, exactly. 

Jim: And who would expect to look for a cat? I mean, you know, cocaine or something, but not a cat. 

Martin: Yeah, but they would be hiding in the same places.

Jim: Yeah, that’s true.

Martin: I guess I was quite lucky. 

Jim: What about when you stopped somewhere? Because cats are notorious for wandering off for untold amounts of time.

Martin: They do. She does.

Jim: What do you have to do then? You stop somewhere, the cat jumps off, then what?

Martin: I have her on a leash. So if I stop somewhere to get fuel of something, she either stays or she has to stay because she’s on a leash. She doesn’t have much of a choice. And then I always try to find places where I can just let her go. So I would try to find a place where she feels safe. I always need to watch out. I need to go through a checklist. Shouldn’t be any dogs. Other cats she only gets in fights with. There shouldn’t be any cars. She’s really afraid of trucks. She doesn’t feel safe in open areas, so I always have to find something where she can climb up a tree, or climb up rocks, mountains, whatever. Somewhere where she feels safe. So I would just try to pick a space that is suitable for her. Then I let her go. Normally what she does, for the first half an hour/hour maybe, she sticks around fairly close, and she comes back checking on me every like 5 minutes. And then once she realizes I’ms saying there, I’m putting up the tent, and started cooking and that, she goes wandering off. She sometimes, worse case scenario, doesn’t come back for a whole day. I get really worried, obviously. I try to find her. I’ve done quite a few searches as well. Went around for hours and hours trying to find her. I’ve had the coolest encounters because of that, too. I’ve met so many people because of that. Like, people were helping me…there was one camping ground in Albania, and I had the whole camping ground, and the two camping grounds next to each other…everybody was looking for Mogli. The receptionist even called the hotel that was next door, asking them if a cat wandered in. She just came back in the evening as if nothing would have happened. 

Jim: Typical cat. So what you’re saying is, the cats traveling, really. You’re just there as a support crew. 

Martin: That’s it, yes.

Jim: Because you’re stuck waiting for the cat, on the cats whim, when it decides to come back. It sort of makes you wonder why the cat doesn’t worry that your’e going to leave. 

Martin: She must realize that it’s probably me worrying that she’s going to leave, more than the other way around. 

Jim: Yeah, that’s a typical cat.

Martin: I don’t know if she knows, but. I’ve ben traveling with her for 102 days on this trip, and I’ve done a few smaller trips before. So I really can say that I’m sure now, she’s not going to run off. If she doesn’t come back, I’m actually getting really worried, because there’s a few things that can always happen to her. She’s very curious, as cats are, so it’s a big chance she gets locked into somewhere. That’s probably what happened in Albania as well. I did find her in a locked up toilet cupboard in Iran one day. I’m not sure how she got in there. There’s a few times where I couldn’t find here and I assumed she might have been locked in somewhere. So that’s one thing that might happen, and then obviously, somebody could do something to her. But, you know, who would do something to a cat. So. 

Jim: Well, yeah. That’s a tough one. Completely out of your control. So you mentioned that you took her back to Germany first, you obviously got her vaccinated and everything there.

Martin: Oh I got everything, yes. 

Jim: What’s it like crossing borders now? What procedure do you have to go through? 

Martin: Depends what border it is, really. Most borders are actually quite easy. In Europe, nobody really wanted to see her. They asked me for the first time for her papers I think when I went to Bosnia. They really just ask for it, and when I was pulling them out, they didn’t even look at the papers, they were just checking if I have any. Then they were like- okay, now go. Then there was one little border in Bosnia that I couldn’t cross. It was middle of nowhere, and just a tiny border post, and this guy wasn’t sure what to do with a cat. So he just sent me to the next border post. It was quite easy like that when we went to Turkey. The mom of the border official was actually around, and she loved cats. So she would make sure that Mogli’s okay, and then just keep an eye out for Mogli while I Was doing all the paperwork. So that was quite cool. I actually took some photos with her, and she’s really proud to hold her. So that was quite funny. In Greece, they did ask for her passport again, but they didn’t look at it, once again. Bu then in Iran, the only trouble was that I was sent form one office to another, from one accounted to another, and back. To go back and forth, from one building to another. So it was a lot of stress, really. That was the only problem. But she was really cute then. She just endured everything, she didn’t complain, she just went with it. She was was actually really, really nice. The first time it seemed to be a problem was when I got into the UE. I was supposed to have a health certificate for her, which I wasn’t aware of. But you could see that she was healthy. Her fur was shining and everything. So she was definitely healthy, and had all the vaccinations. It took me like 2 or 3 hours, and they told me- no, it’s got to go in quarantine, you’ve got to get the certificate first. I was getting quite heated up. I obviously couldn’t travel 13,000 kilometres with her through like 12 countries, and get to the last country, and not being able to take her…that wasn’t an option. After 2 or 3 hours, they were like- fine, go. You can have her. 

Jim: Really. So is that an example of, if you push enough at a border, you’re going to get what you want, even though it’s against the rules?

Martin: No, it was just luck, I guess. They did have problems with the computers, and they didn’t really…at some point, I thought they didn’t really know what they were going to do. Like they were just asking somebody else what to do, and the next person didn’t know what to do. I guess int he end, they just kind of wanted to get rid of the problem, and sent me on. And she did have all the vaccinations. She has a passport, vaccinations, she is chipped, she’s obviously healthy and in good condition. So it was kind of against the rules, but it was a no-brainer that she was fine to come in. Maybe it’s because that’s why they decided that. I’m not sure. But I was very happy when that happened. The moment they told me that I can go, I was feeling so relived, really. 

Jim: Mogli’s obviously the name of the cat. 

Martin: That’s true, yes.

Jim: Now, are there times where you wish you didn’t have the cat with you when you’re traveling? Does it become a nuisance because it’s a big part of what your’e doing? 

Martin: I never wish that I didn’t take her. Mainly because there’s no point. If you make a decision, then there’s no point regretting the decision. It’s just a new starting point, and you just take things from there, and see how it turns out. So she did hold me back quite a few times, and I couldn’t do many things because of her, but you never know what would have happened if it wasn’t for that. Maybe I would have gotten into a really bad situation, just by chance. I didn’t. Everything went well, so there’s really no reason to complain. So, no. I never thought that. 

Jim: Mogli, the cat, led you back home one time. Can you tell us that?

Martin: Ah, that’s true, yes. That was a brilliant moment. We were in Turkey, in Kabak Koyu near Oludeniz, which is crazy beautiful, by the way. It’s this valley, the Koyu Valley. All along on the hill slopes on the side of the valley overlooking the beautiful beach, there’s camps and huts and just little wooden huts..sometimes it’s hotels…it’s really beautiful. You have a lot of…it’s built for tourism. The most beautiful place to sleep, and it’s cheap, too. So we’re at the place. I got a place to put my ten ton a hillside, and then I Was walking down to the beach, because I really wanted to see the beach. It’s about 40, maybe 45 minutes walk away. So I started walking, and by the time I made like 100 meters, and I could hear her calling for me. She’d never done that before, so I wasn’t sure what’s happening. So I turn around, she’s on that rock, she’s looking at me and she’s calling me. I just called her back- well, if you want to come along, then come along. I turned around, I start walking, and she actually starts coming along. It was really, really cool. So she follows me all the way almost to the beach. she did get attacked by a couple of dogs in the meantime, just before we got to beach. She ran away and she hid, and there’s was nothing I could do. So I was just waiting really, until she would calm down. Imet some people there, so I hung out with the people. And but the time I wanted to go back up to the tent, it was dark. I kind of knew that I had to go up that hill, but I didn’t know left or right, there’s many ways, so I didn’t know what way to go. So I started walking back, and she follows me again. She follows me until about halfway through the hill, and then at some point she just stops following me. I call  her, but she just refuses to follow me. So I turn around, and she starts leading the way. And since I Really didn’t know where to go anyway, I thought I’d just give it a shot, and just follow her. So she leads the way to the next turn, waits for me until I catch up. As soon as I catch up, she runs the next 10-15 meters, waits for me again. She does it all the way until we get back to the tent. It was amazing.

Jim: And with multiple turns, you’d have to know that she’s doing it on purpose. 

Martin: She did, yeah. I figured that she took the exact same route back that we took down. I never saw her sniffing. Like whenever she stopped, she just topped and was looking out for me. She never went down to sniff, maybe sniff it out, where we came form. She just really seemed to know. 

Jim: What do people think of the cat when you’re traveling along? I mean, it’s one thing to meet someone who traveling around on a motorcycle, it’s another when they have a cat. 

Martin: That’s true. There’s the most different reactions to that. There’s people who are just amazed by it. Sometimes people are jealous because they also have cats, and they would obviously like to take their cats travelling, but most of times I guess it’s not possible. So there’s these people. There’s other people who just think I’m stupid. Happens a lot, actually. There’s people who literally think I’m crazy. I’ve actually been asked if I am crazy. Like somebody just blatantly asked if I am crazy. 

Jim: They just can’t wrap their head around it. It is pretty bizarre. 

Martin: No, people cannot. Also, if I tell somebody about it…like yeah, I’m on a motorbike, and I’m going from Germany to Dubai. And it’s like- oh, you traveling alone? Well, I have my cat with me. And people don’t…when there’s no reaction, people just think they misheard you. They just can’t wrap their head around it. until they see it. Even people that I told about it, and showed some photos of the cat on the bike…when they actually see the cat on the bike, they’re like- what the hell, are you going to take her? Are you serious? My neighbours are actually like that. I told them, they knew about this, they’re like- okay, that’s cool. That’s fine. And then one day when I was going camping, Mogli was on the bike, and they were at the fence, and they were like- what the hell are you doing? You’re not going to take her, are you? Like, they didn’t…it’s just a tough thing to think somebody’s doing, I guess. Which makes it cool. 

Jim: Is there anything that the cat doesn’t like about riding around?

Martin: There’s a lot of things, yes. Off-road. She really doesn’t like when I’m going off-road. 

Jim: You know what funny, is as soon as you said a lot of things, I thought- well, that’s you’re typical cat. I mean, they have so much attitude it’s incredible. And they’re have all kinds of things, of course. Not just one thing. the cat will have all kinds of things that you probably have to change for her. 

Martin: Yeah, you really have to kind of adapt to it. So, she does get cranky. Not always, but sometimes she gets cranky just in the morning, when she has to go on the bike. Because she’d obviously rather spend her day in the woods catching mice or whatever. OR just sleeping, rather than going on a bike. So I have that. It happens when we go off-road. Especially when we’ve been riding on smooth roads before, and then exchange it to off-roads. She just goes up, and she comes out and she tells me off. She meows so loud, it’s the loudest meow that she can do. She really tells me off, and they’re really persistent. Cats are incredibly persistent, and it’s crazy. You’re think it’s futile that they make a racket, but it’s not. They win. I actually found myself going back from roads that I wanted  to take, and I got back to pavement, because she was just getting the upper hand, I guess. Heat is a big problem. Heat is probably one of the biggest problems that we have. Because normally, what they would do on a hot day, they would just lie somewhere where it’s shady, and they would just sleep the whole day, and come back out at night. Which obviously is not possible because she’s in a tank bag, and the sun is shining on the tank bag. So I put a piece of white paper in there that reflects a bit of the sun, and then sometimes I put like a wet towel or something in there, so it cools it down a bit. Then really, when I’m standing there, I have to look for a shady spot, and all these kind of things. So…what else about riding the bike…it’s really mostly when we start riding the bike, she get a bit cranky, but then she just gets used to it. I think since we got to Iran, that was the first time I Realized she does that; she actually just started sleeping in there. She just fell asleep. I wanted to show her to somebody, and I lift up the lid of the tank bag, and she doesn’t even open her eyes. She was just completely fine. She’s like- okay, fine, I’m sleeping. And yeah, she does that now.

Jim: How do you think the cat changes your experience? What about when it comes to accommodations, or going places? 

Martin: Going places sometimes is just simply impossible. I can’t take her on the sight-seeing tours, especially in the sun for like 2 hours or something. I could do very small tours with her, and put her on my shoulder. Sometimes I would just have to go to a place that I would like to see, and just choose to not see it. As for hotels, it’s different from country to country. In Europe I was camping mostly, so I haven’t really got much experience there. And then in Turkey, from about half of Turkey, once I started going to the east end bit of Turkey…where it’s a bit hairier, I guess because of political conflicts…I had to take hotels. They were always fine with it. I’d ask them like- is it okay to take a cat there? and they’re like - oh, yeah, that’s fine. I thought it would be the same once I got to Iran, because they have the Persian cats, the world famous Persian cats, so I thought really, it’s going to be fine. I was relieved that Turkey was fine with cats, I thought Iran was going to be a breeze. And then when I got to Iran, I found a really nice place, and Mogli took a liking to it too, because there was enough places to run around. I was really happy because I Was exhausted after the border crossing. I had a bit of health issues, too. I had a bad stomach. So I found this place, and he’s like- yeah, but I can’t let you stay. He had really bad English, so he couldn’t really explain to me what would happen. Then the search for a hotel started. I was really looking for a hotel as there was no good place to camp. I figured it owl due impossible. I was lucky on the first night. I found a hotel where the boss wasn’t in, and they let me stay. Then from the next day when I was looking for hotels, I spent like 2 or 3 hours not he second day, i spent the same amount of time on the raid day…overtime to just try to find place to sleep. People would just either ask stupid amounts of money of me, like twice the price, or just tell me that it’s illegal, that it’s not allowed. So it was quite difficult. And it was getting winter by the time I got to Iran, and quite a bit of it is an altitude of about 1500 meters to 2000 meters. So it was getting quite cold by then. I ended up camping, and freezing at night for a few nights, until I got to Tehran where I found somebody to stay with for like a week…to sort out all my things. To sort out my visa problems that I had, and from then on I was kind of fine, because I knew what I was in for. I was, instead of looking for hotels, just looking for campgrounds. The cold…I found a good solution against the cold. I have the emergency heat reflective blanket with me, and if it gets really cold, I would just wrap this around me. And it would actually do a brilliant job of keeping the heat in, and make me have a warm night. 

Jim: That’s in your sleeping bag you’re talking about?

Martin: I put it around the sleeping bag, on the outside. Because really it just sweats too much otherwise. So I just wrap it around and pout it underneath me, because the mattress doesn’t do a good job at keeping the cold out. And then I put it above me, and…yeah. It reflects all the heat, so I stay warm. 

Jim: So where do you go from here? What’s the plan? Where’s Mogli taking you next? 

Martin: Next stop is India and Naples. So I’m going to have to get a new visa for Iran, which should be fine. Crossing Pakistan is a bit dangerous and a bit difficult, and they don’t like to give out visas because of that. But I met the council here in Dubai, the {?} council, and I actually befriended him. And he says- look, I’m going to send a letter of recommendation so you can get your visa, and I’m going too end a letter of recommendation for your friend as well, so you get your visas sorted. Then we can go through Pakistan, and go into India. 

Jim: Oh, your friend. I see. The friend you’re traveling with. I was thinking you were talking about the cat there for a second. 

Martin: No, no. I don’t anybody’s going to care about her, really. 

Jim: So you figure, just leave it in the luggage, and if you need to, you show the papers that it’s been vaccinated, and that’s it. That’s your approach.

Martin: Yeah, yeah. I’m really…from what I’ve experienced, I don’t anyone’s really going to care. They have different problems there.

Jim: Any tips for people who might be considering taking their pet with them?

Martin: You’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to put up with not getting what you want. But if you choose to take your pet, then you really have to take one for the team now and then. And just go with what’s happening. Like, you can’t take the pet, and then regret taking it…hoping to make another decision, have made another decision… So really, you’ve got to be up for it. You’ve got to be in the right mindset for it, and just take things as they come. You need the vaccinations pretty much everything. The rabies vaccinations, sometimes you need more. So best to double check on the internet, and see what each country wants you to have to take the animal. It needs to be chipped. So it has to have a chip that they can read out with the transponder number that goes back to the passport you have for the vaccinations. Yeah, what else…be aware that it might not be easy. 

Jim: And if you get to a border where they’re saying you can’t cross, what’s the approach at the point? 

Martin: Depends what border it is. Most borders, you can just take a different border. If you come in with a boat, or a plane or whatever, then this becomes a bit difficult. There’s not much you can do. Try to make the best out of it, and try to avoid these situations in the first place…where you might not be able to get your pet, or where they might take it off you, or quarantine it. 

Jim: And do you have an approach for dealing with authorities when it comes to the cat?

Martin: Not really, no. Be friendly.

Jim: You mentioned patience. That obviously is huge. 

Martin: You’ve got to be patient, yes. Then, obviously be friendly. Not just at border posts. Everywhere you go. Just be friendly, and be respectful to people. Then figure things out. If somebody tells you that it’s not possible, try to find a different solution. Try to find another person. If it’s a pet that just follows you all the time, you could put it down, and then it just follows you, if that works. It always depends on the pet as well. You could always smuggle it, if it’s possible. Yeah. There’s many ways. Try to try the legal way, if not, try to smuggle the cat or whatever it is over the border. But then there might be a problem at the next border, so it’s always better to have it legal. But most of the times, it’s not a problem actually. If you have the right papers, then most of the times it’s not a problem. It wouldn’t have been a problem if I had had the health certificate. Which, I just wasn’t aware that I needed. 

Jim: Well, I would think a cat has to be one of the more difficult animals to travel with. I can picture a dog being okay. As a matter of fact, we travel with our two dogs, but mainly just in Canada, or only in Canada with the two dogs. But a cat? That’s a whole new ball of wax. But it’s good to hear you’ve got it sorted out, and you’re getting place with it, and i guess we’ll have to see where the cat takes you next. 

Martin: I guess, yes. So, India. Pakistan, India, Naples, and then…I really don’t know what I’m doing after that. I have to figure that out. 

Jim: Well Martin, that’s a very interesting way of travel. Thanks very much for coming on and talking about it. 

Martin: It was a pleasure, thanks for having me.

OUTRO (The Cat and the Motorcycle)

Jim (Narrate): I’ve been speaking with Martin Klauka, and he is in Dubai right now, but I imagine that cats going to have him on the road very soon. Who knows where he’s going next?


Interviewer/Host: Jim Martin
Producer: Elizabeth Martin
Transcriptionist: Natasha Martin


This episode of Adventure Rider Radio is made possible by listener support and the following SHOW SPONSORS. 

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