Pedalling to Kailash with Graydon Hazenberg

by Jeremy Bassetti
Graydon Hazenberg Pedalling to Kailash
Graydon Hazenberg (right) and his cycling companions.

Joining me today is Graydon Hazenberg. In 1998, Graydon, his twin sisters, and a friend rode bicycles for nearly four months from Islamabad to Mount Kailash in Tibet. He wrote about his adventure in his new travelogue, Pedalling to Kailash: Cycling Adventures and Misadventures Across the Roof of the World (2021). 

Now, Graydon’s book is special not just because of the challenging nature of his adventure, but because he — as you’ll hear him mention — embarked on different type of challenge in self-publishing the book after nearly 25 years.

We also talk about what traveling to Tibet was like in the late 1990s, how plotting waypoints on maps helped him reconstruct the journey and write, and his path to to self-publishing. 

Connect with Graydon Hazenberg on his website or on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Purchase Pedalling to Kailash by Graydon Hazenberg

If you live in the United States or the United Kingdom, we urge you to purchase your travel books from Bookshop, an online store that supports independent bookstores. Whether you use Bookshop or you decide to purchase your travel books from Amazon, please use our links. If you use our links to make a purchase, we will receive a few cents commission at no additional cost to you. These funds help keep the podcast alive and ad-free.

More episodes, newsletters, & support

Please consider supporting the show with a few dollars a month, less than a cup of coffee, to help keep our show alive and advertisement-free.

You can also support the show by leaving a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or in your favorite podcasting app, subscribing to the show, and following us on TwitterInstagram.

Also, consider using our affiliate links to purchase your books. If you use our links to make a purchase, we will receive a few cents commission at no additional cost to you. These funds help keep the podcast alive and ad-free.

Finally, join the Travel Writing World newsletter to receive your free copy of The Travel Writer’s Guidebook. You will also receive quarterly dispatches & reports with podcast interviews, travel writing resources, & book recommendations. Alternatively, you can join the Genius Loci Newsletter to get monthly roundups of travel writing news.

Thanks for your support!

Intro music

Peach by Daantai (Daantai’s Instagram)


*Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, this website will earn a very small commission if a purchase is made using these links. Also, “as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases” using the Amazon links on this site.

Thank you!

You may also like


Emerson Grossmith 17 December 2021 - 2:08 am

A Kiwi/CDN friend of mine passed away this past summer but had been a cycling maniac for many years-with trips all over Canada, India, Middle east, South America and Europe. One trip he did from Algiers through the Sahara down to Nigeria in 1985. He spent 17 weeks cycling through the Sahara. I kept bugging him to write up his trips as he was an excellent writer and photographer. He opted to write them out on paper and had not transcribed them onto a flash drive. His stories would be most entertaining. A group of us want to get his book published.

Jeremy Bassetti 22 December 2021 - 3:50 am

Sorry to hear about his passing. But what an impressive experience and trove of insight. It might open an ethical debate if your friend didn’t ever want or intend his journals to be read by others or published (to say nothing about the act of interpretation that would occur), but it all does sound fascinating.

Emerson Grossmith 23 December 2021 - 12:24 am

The funny part of my Kiwi friend Mark Holmes’ Sahara biking saga was that he had three passports–his parents were British, he was born in Canada and they they emigrated to NZ–so he was (always) travelling with three passports. You can imagine the heat from the desert and that Sahel region as I just returned from two year contract in Mauritania. At any rate, I digress. He had passport pouches around his neck but decided because of the heat, to wrap them around his handlebar bag and forgot about them. He arrives at the Nigerian or Niger border and soon realizes that the pouches must have got caught in his front wheel and he had no passports at all for the border guards who were already suspicious of a skinny long red hair hippie looking guy with just biking shorts on landing at their remote borderpost claiming to have cycled through the Sahara for 17 + weeks from Algiers.

Carla 14 December 2021 - 6:16 pm

What serendipity! I just found your podcast via your guest spot on “The Creative Penn.” This episode is quite interesting for me since I made an around-the-world bicycle journey in 1991 and also published a book about it last year, 30 years after the trip. Traveling in the ’90s, especially by bicycle, was so different than it is today. Like Graydon, I used my old maps and journals to bring the trip back to life for my book, “Bicycle Odyssey – A Journey of Inner and Outer Discovery.”

Jeremy Bassetti 22 December 2021 - 3:53 am

Wow. Sounds awesome too. There seems to be a large international biking community interested in this sort of thing. Quite nice it is to have such a large community. Best of luck to you and your book!

Carla Fountain 22 December 2021 - 11:53 am

Thank you, Jeremy!

Emerson Grossmith 9 December 2021 - 11:18 am

Can I get back to you once I’ve been published? I’m hoping to get books on Yemen and Iran published too.

Jeremy Bassetti 9 December 2021 - 1:30 pm

No problem. Best of luck to you.

Emerson Grossmith 8 December 2021 - 9:52 am

How does a writer get to do a podcast interview on your show? I hope my book “Love, Apartheid and Other Tales from Africa” about travelling through racist South Africa” in 1984 is to be published by “The Next Chapter” soon. I did most of my travel in the 1980s and 1990s overland through Africa, Iran, India, and Yemen. Love your show and podcast with Hazenberg on his bike ride and info on publishing–thanks!

Jeremy Bassetti 9 December 2021 - 8:41 am

Hi, Emerson. Your book/journey sounds interesting. The decision to speak with authors is mine. And, because of my limited time, I can’t interview everyone. I wish I could do this full time and speak with more authors, but alas… In any case, that for listening!


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More