What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby wombatK » Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:15 pm

rob e wrote:wombatk you've got me there..........anyone with a garmin want to give that route a try?.....i am confident on 15% though.

i know its a tough one because one of our mates who was 11th out of 520 in the Dirtworks 50 admitted to thinking he might have to unclip in 39x25. We have done a lot of climbs together including Otford Wall with confirmed 12%+ first pitch and this is easily comparable for steepness, but certainly not length. Dundas street is the kicker...

Okay, it's gravely steep. So steep that my Edge 705 gave me frequent ridiculous values for gradients (like negative gradients on Dundas St, followed by > 30% gradients).

This was most likely due to the random errors in elevation data often exceeding the difference in elevation over short distances (e.g. 0.5 m error in elevation is quite significant when points are just 10 m apart). On steep roads like this, the accuracy of a GPS is questionable - as the hill itself can obscure some satellites. And finally, the Garmin appears to average or smooth gradient data over either some distance or time (I haven't worked out which) in ways that don't seem too clever.

So with these caveats on accuracy, I tried to work out what gradients could be calculated from the raw elevation data and coordinates logged by the Garmin. This gave something less ridiculous.

From the start of Oberon St to the peak of the climb on Rainbow St, the road rises approximately 48 m over 300 m - an average gradient of 16% (this is the average of three laps on that section). The gradient is above 15% for over 240m, and when you first enter Rainbow St from Dundas St, the gradient is over 20% for 40 m (maybe as high as 25% at its worst).

The gradients on Arden St are somewhat tamer. For example, the worst is the hill from Dolphin St on the southern end of Coogee beach - it reaches 15% for the last 30 m or so before Alison Rd.

Here is a graph showing the elevation (on right axis) and gradient (on left axis). There are slope lines that represent a 1 in 6 (16%) gradient also shown as a guide to the steepness...

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The bikely path is here: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Ra ... -Challenge .

For anyone looking for a punishing workout, this ought to satisfy - there's even a nice little warm-up climb up Beach Rd, and plenty of other hills in the area with serious gradients. The Oberon/Dundas/Rainbow St loop is not for the feint-hearted, which counts me out. I'd happily give anyone who can do this in 39x25 a standing ovation.

In terms of steepest gradient, Rainbow St probably beats Bowen Mt. However, Bowen Mt has gradients around 12% that are sustained for much longer distances. The vertical distance climbed is an aspect of "steepest" that needs to be considered, and I suspect that Bowen Mt would take more grunt to execute that Rainbow St.
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby ni78ck » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:06 am

[For anyone looking for a punishing workout, this ought to satisfy - there's even a nice little warm-up climb up Beach Rd, and plenty of other hills in the area with serious gradients. The Oberon/Dundas/Rainbow St loop is not for the feint-hearted, which counts me out. I'd happily give anyone who can do this in 39x25 a standing ovation.


i will give it a crack maybe this weekend :shock: im not quite sure how to approach it :roll: do you 39/25 the whole way?
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby wombatK » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:41 am

ni78ck wrote:i will give it a crack maybe this weekend :shock: im not quite sure how to approach it :roll: do you 39/25 the whole way?

52x11 would be fine on the downhill :lol: As for the uphill, how low can you go ? There'd be no shame in starting Oberon in 39x28 (if you had one !). Don't know about your chances of changing down a gear once the gradient gets over 10% - wouldn't you lose too much momentum ? What do others think ?
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby rob e » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:52 pm

thanks for making the effort WombatK - I knew i was on to something special. Im stoked i found this one so close to home.

If its not raining in the morning i will ride it again, and will do so again on the weekend too. I will be using 39x25 this time, last time i used 39x27.

edit: finally bothered to make an avatar small enough........go Jan!
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby rob e » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:22 pm

WombatK i have another task for you.

Check out the Otford Wall. Climb starts on Otford Road, Otford at the Causeway heading West, and ends at Werong Pl Helensburgh. Its a real stinker. First pitch is diabolical........first 900m averages 12% i beleive, and i am certain there is a 200-300 metre section of near 15%.

1.9km (from causeway to Truck depot/50 sign)
ascent: 180m
average gradient: 9.6%

I believe you may find pain comparable to Bowen Mountain.

I will be doing this on Sat morning after already climbing Artillery Hill and Garie Beach Hill.......both stinkers in their own right.
Last edited by rob e on Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby rob e » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:20 pm

ni78ck wrote:i will give it a crack maybe this weekend :shock: im not quite sure how to approach it :roll: do you 39/25 the whole way?


from memory you have a dura ace oppy....so i think your lowest is 39x25. I'd start Oberon in 39x23 and get as far as you can in that before changing to 39x25.......probably at the corner of dundas. You will just need to grit the teeth from there. There is a little turnout at the corner of rainbow st to the left so you could pull in there and then turn around and take on the last part of the climb without having to unclip if you completely blow up coming up Dundas st.

I remember first time i did it on Rainbow St at 20%+ gradient my arms were burning with lactic acid.....imagine how the legs were! :lol:
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby ni78ck » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:23 pm

rob e wrote:
ni78ck wrote:i will give it a crack maybe this weekend :shock: im not quite sure how to approach it :roll: do you 39/25 the whole way?


from memory you have a dura ace oppy....so i think your lowest is 39x25. I'd start Oberon in 39x23 and get as far as you can in that before changing to 39x25.......probably at the corner of dundas. You will just need to grit the teeth from there. There is a little turnout at the corner of rainbow st to the left so you could pull in there and then turn around and take on the last part of the climb without having to unclip if you completely blow up coming up Dundas st.

I remember first time i did it on Rainbow St at 20%+ gradient my arms were burning with lactic acid.....imagine how the legs were! :lol:


i was fine last week coming down dundas :shock: .
i too was thinking of the exit to the left! thats a must i think, and then gather the #alls to do the last 50m :x
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby wombatK » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:34 pm

rob e wrote:WombatK i have another task for you.

Check out the Otford Wall...

I believe you may find pain comparable to Bowen Mountain.

I will be doing this on Sat morning after already climbing Artillery Hill and Garie Beach Hill.......both stinkers in their own right.

From the Google Earth Maps, Otford Rd looks like something I wouldn't want to tangle with yet. Bowen Mt, from Gross Vale Rd cnr, averages only 6.5% over 5 km. Otford Rd averages about 8.5% over 2 km (using very rough Google Earth SRTM3 data). Both have some gradients over 15% along the way.

The pain is probably similar - but might last a bit longer on Bowen Mt (elevation profile earlier in this thread). Even moreso if the lead-in to Bowen Mt was doing the 200 m of ascent from Richmond up to the start of Bowen Mt Rd. If you do bust a gut on the climb, at least with Otford Rd the ambulance is pretty close by (in Helensburgh) - not some 15 km away like in Bowen Mt case.
rob e wrote:I will be doing this on Sat morning after already climbing Artillery Hill and Garie Beach Hill.......both stinkers in their own right.

Oh the pain, the pain - don't you love it Will Robinson ? :D :) :D
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby rob e » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:40 am

good point re the ambo, the worst thing about the otford wall is that the climb starts straight from the weir at 15% no warning, no warm up just bang. and your legs and then thoroughly shot....the first 800-900 metres is the toughest, and the gradient eases after that somewhat but the damage has been done. the other issue is the second half has a number of "steps" which means you cant see the top and dont know how long the hurt is going to continue. The consensus among the local roadies and tri guys in the know is that Otford Wall is the nastiest single climb on the southside (not including 'gong climbs of course)
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby NotFlyingScot » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:27 pm

How exactly does one get onto this "Otford Wall" road? Turn off at the pie shop is all I've heard but not sure where to go when you get down to the bottom of the hill. Would like to give it a go next time I am staying at Bundeena and have my bike with me.
Had a roll up Bowen Mt Rd this morning with Todd. That's certainly a good work out starting from Penrith via N. Richmond / Grose Vale Rd. Just keeps getting progressively steeper over several kilometres and finishes off with a nice steep pitch up Wattle St (?) before the final climb to Lt Bowen Rd(?). That last bit seemed similar to Old Bathurst Rd but with a much longer and tougher lead in. Highly recommended (if self flagelation is your thing) :)
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby rob e » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:29 pm

NFS, if you are heading south, turn right at the Pie Shop (Domville Rd) then head down the hill, follow Domville Road until it meets with Otford Road (bushfire brigade on the corner) then just head down the hill (Otford Road) and cross the causeway.....The Wall starts once you cross the causeway. The 15% starts basically straight away, expect to be out of the saddle in 39x25 pretty much immediately. Follow it to the end, then we head right on walker, left on parkes and home on the old highway. or, of course you can turn around at the top and head back to bundeena via RNP. a good way for you might to be to head back on the old highway to waterfall and then enter RNP at waterfall and go home to bundeena though the park.
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby wombatK » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:12 pm

Simon has now conquered Bowen Mt with his Garmin - ride and elevation profile posted here. Not bad for a fella who doesn't like hills - even threw in a second assault on the Blue Mountains escarpment.
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby ni78ck » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:28 am

greville st clovelly i believe is 20% :shock: did it 5 times yesterday during hill repeats :shock: :shock:
legs still hurting :roll:
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby thomashouseman » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:11 am

What about Tarrants Ave in Denistone? It's pretty darn steep but has a T intersection at the bottom so no fanging it downhill afterward :(
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby gavinr » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:48 am

Darling Street in Balmain is about 12% for the 200m from the Balmain East ferry wharf up to Nicholson Street.

I go up it every afternoon, it never gets any easier. And you always have to do it from a standing start.
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Re:

Postby CommuRider » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:01 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Nah, steepest in the world is 17deg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldwin_Street,_Dunedin


World's steepest should warrant a bike lift. Like this one in Trampe, Trondheim, Norway. (20deg)

http://www.trampe.no/english/

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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby goneriding » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:19 am

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Re: Steepest Rd - can Lining up the posts settle debate ?

Postby baralah » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:27 am

wombatK wrote:
fatherofmany wrote:My father lives in Greenwood Ave Coogee, it's an insane hill.

And closer to home Georgiana Terrace in Gosford (the bit that runs off Henry Parry) is just plain dumb, my car doesn't even like it in first.

I think Arden St North from Dolphin St, just North of Coogee beach, is longer and even more fearsome. The gradient doesn't really kick in til you pass Bream St.

If you want to check this out, don't bother looking in Google Earth for elevations, or looking them up on http://mapmyride.com - the SRTM3 data for elevations doesn't work very well around coastal areas or places where there are steep changes.

But here's a way you might be able to estimate road steepness. Turn the Google maps streetview (as per link above) using the 90 turn arrows until you looking at right angles to the road. If that's parallel to the gradient, look for the angle that vertical posts, such as power poles, make to the ground - choosing one that extends to car-roof level (where the google map camera was mounted). In the case of Arden st, there's a cutting with a fence that makes angle measurement a snap. I found it reaches about 12 degrees, or approx 21% (near what google streetview labels as 174 Arden St).

If you want some hill challenges, there's more north between here and Bronte Rd. Bronte Rd from the beach west to where Leichardt St joins it is also seriously difficult - averaging about 8% over 1 km, and streetview photo measurement shows a few places around 17% or so.

Another tough one is the hill just west of Waverley cemetery St Thomas St, Woollahra.

Anyone living around here would find plenty of use for granny gears. If you're not too sure if your heart is up to it, Prince of Wales Hospital is nearby and has an excellent cardiac unit. :D

Lining up posts on Greenwood Ave Streetview indicates a gradient around the 20% mark too, so yes, it is steep - but shorter than the Arden St or Bronte Rd climbs.

It's a bit like Cronin Ave, Penshurst also around 20% for about 120 to 150 m - my poor mum pushed myself and 2 siblings up and down this hill to get shopping from Hurstville when we were newborns, and from 2 years on I walked it regularly. The hills on the Hurstville side of King Georges Rd are also a fair climb.


34 Wattle St, Bowen Mountain is, however, far more fearsome than any of the above. Lining up the posts indicates it's around 20%, and I think that's steeper than any part of Bowen Mountain Road. What makes it more fearsome is that to get there you have to climb constantly from Richmond (about 14 km away) - and you're at an elevation close to 420 m.

However, it's 22km from the nearest cardiac unit (Nepean Hospital) and 14 km from the ambulance station :cry:. While it might be a great place to train Cadel Evans' successors, it could not be fairly considered part of metropolitan sydney :)


I've always wanted to try Arden St. But Man speaking about room for cyclists, that street is like a suicuide street. And have tried Bronte Rd few times, my mate puked when we reached the summit :lol: :lol: :lol:
The legs say NO!!!!! And brain can't do much......
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby humanbeing » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:33 am

I go up Arden St at North Coogee at least twice a week, usually before 6.30 am. I've never had a problem with traffic but I've heard others have.
The steepest hill around Sydney is the Otford Wall, climbing from Otford to Helensbourgh south of the RNP. Otherwise, Awaba St, Balmoral.
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby Addictr3 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:15 pm

There is a hill near the back of Hornsby when you climb to Bobbin Head, its pretty steep. Not sure what the street is called, leads onto the backroad to Bobbin Head,
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby Schmenz » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:19 pm

sherbrook rd or salisbury rd probably
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby Addictr3 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:29 pm

Schmenz wrote:sherbrook rd or salisbury rd probably


Yeah prob Sherbrook, its not long but its fairly steep :P
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby jimsheedy » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:46 pm

Riviera rd avalon. short but incredibly steep. It's actually quite difficult to walk up or down. let alone ride.
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby Addictr3 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:11 am

Collaroy there is a killer of a hill, same street as where the Collaroy Movies are; never ridden it. I ride a fair bit of Avalon, Palmy etc. I still think that Hill near Hornsby is the Steepest from a standstill,
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Re: What is the steepest rd in Sydney?

Postby jimsheedy » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:19 am

next time your heading out to palmy turn left at kevin ave ( just past central rd) then left again at park about 50 mtrs on and start climbing. Let us know what you think.
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