The notorious 1 in 20

Matt de Neef from has provided the following detailed description of a climb he, and many other Victorian riders, knows all too well.

No climb in the Greater Melbourne area is more popular or well-known than 'The 1 in 20'. For thousands of riders it is THE local testing climb -- the ascent they'll visit to see how their form is; the climb they want to set a new PB on.

Climbing into the lush Dandenong Ranges, the 1 in 20 isn't the hardest climb in the region, but any climb is only as hard as you want to make it. Ride it gently and it's a stunningly beautiful entry point to a veritable playground for cyclists. Ride it hard and it will have you suffering from bottom to top.

Quite simply, this is THE climb for cyclists in Melbourne and surrounds. If you haven't ridden it yet, be sure to put it on your list.


Length: 6.8km
Average gradient: 4.0% – so not quite 1 in 20!
Elevation gain: 274m


The 1 in 20 is Melbourne’s most popular cycling climb. Winding its way up Mountain Highway from The Basin to Sassafras this gentle climb provides a fantastic way for cyclists of all abilities to test themselves.

The climb gets its name from the average gradient with which it climbs up into the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Like so many of the roads running through the Dandenongs, this section of Mountain Highway is truly breathtaking with its wide variety of native flora and fauna.


The 1 in 20 climb begins at the pedestrian traffic lights at the top end of the shops in The Basin.


The climb finishes at the 50km/h speed signs just before the township of Sassafras. The word "finnish" is painted on the ground.


- A gentle, picturesque climb with a generous false-flat section.
- The first 3.3km of the climb are gentle with only a few slight changes in gradient.
- The false-flat begins roughly 3.3km from the start of the climb and is about 1.1km long.
- The climbing in the final 2.4km is gentle with few changes of gradient.


Due to its reasonably gentle gradient, the 1 in 20 isn’t an overly challenging climb if you are just trying to reach the top. The real challenge here lies in posting a new best time.

From the get-go the road tilts gently upward and maintains a fairly steady gradient of around 4-5% for the entirety of its 6.8km length. Distance markers have been painted on the road every kilometre, giving you an indication of how much further you have to climb.

Roughly 3.3km from the start of the climb (500m after the 4km-to-go marker) the road settles into a false-flat for roughly 1.1km. If you are looking to set a new PB up here you can’t afford to sit up and rest on this flat section. Speeds in the realm of 40km/h are set along here by A-grade riders.

After tilting upwards again for the last couple kilometres, the road emerges from the Dandenong Ranges National Park before one last left-hand bend into the finish.

A time of under 14 minutes up here will put you among the very best to have ridden this climb, but any time under 20 minutes is also respectable.


The 1 in 20 climb starts in the suburb of The Basin, around 30km east of Melbourne’s CBD. The climb is best accessed by following Mountain Highway from Bayswater, or by following Boronia Road from Boronia.


Want to see how your effort on the 1 in 20 stacks up? Be sure to check out the climb leaderboards on Strava.

Visit for plenty more on Victoria's best climbs and the joy of riding uphill.

Looking for your next big challenge? Why not make the 1 in 20 part of your Peaks Challenge Falls Creek 2020 training and sign up today to find your limit.


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