The 1 in 20 (The Basin)

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Distance: 6.8 km
Average Gradient: 4%

Elevation gain: 277 meters
Traffic: Light traffic
Surface: Sealed

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

There is an aura surrounding the 1 in 20.  This is easily one Melbourne’s most iconic climbs.  Which takes riders up a journey along the Mountain Highway through the Dandenong Ranges National Park. The 1 in 20 is 6.8km in length and has an average gradient of 4%.  Its a climb which appeals to riders of all abilities.  And is a climb which riders use as a benchmark to test how fast they are uphill.  In a friendly manner the 1 in 20 is Melbourne’s biggest pissing contest.  It’s common for riders to compare their 1 in 20 times against their mates.

The 1 in 20

The name 1 in 20 came from its average gradient.  Which is funny as technically 1/20 represents 5% not the climbs 4% average.  As it’s such a cool sounding name no one’s seemed to complain about a little technicality.

The climb takes you through the Dandenong Ranges National Park.  Which is truly breathtaking offering temperate Rainforest and a wide variety of native flora and fauna. The road winds its way up Mountain Highway between The Basin and Sassafras,.  It is a gentle climb which is great for cyclists of all abilities to test themselves.

I’ve heard some riders call the 1 in 20 an easy climb.  I’m of the opinion that there is no such thing as an easy climb.   If you’re finding a climb easy then you’re probably not hitting it hard enough.  Much of the enjoyment of climbing the 1 in 20 comes from the fact that the gradient subtly changes throughout.  The climb  has many nuances which keep you on your toes.  Its important to pace yourself and to ride  it smart.  It’s a climb that you really have to have experience to get a feel for the best way to attack it.

View of Sky High from the 1 in 20


When you next climb this iconic climb spare a thought for Hells 500 rider.  Martin English. He is the current record holder for the most consecutive laps of the 1 in 20.  Spanning over a 33 hour period.  On the 1 in 20.  Every kilometer there is a a painted sign to the left hand side of the road letting you know how far you have to climb.  With 500 metres to go, these are painted every 50 metres.  They’re a great tool to help pace yourself up to the top, and riders use these to gauge how far they have to climb.  Still I wonder how useless these were to Martin who climbed the 1 in 20 a whopping 36 times.  Accumulating 10,818 vertical metres and covering a distance of 508km.  Which at the time was a record longest Everest attempt.  That ride would have hurt!

Martin English on his Everest attempt

Here is a link to his Strava Activity here:

The 1 in 20 has also been Everested by:

  1. John Van Seters
  2. Gary Beazley
  3. Lewis Greenhalgh
  4. Con Xenos
Official finish to the climb, however there’s still a little bit of climbing to go

This is a true icon of the Dandenong’s, and if you get a chance next time you’re out there, pay it a visit.

Talking about a pissing contest.  What is your PB up the 1 in 20?

Bet you can go faster……

Plan your ride

Public transport

Train service available to “Ferntree Gully” and “Mooroolbark” train stations.  Click here for Public Transport Victoria for train timetable.

The 1 in 20 Parking

The 1 in 20 has limited parking at base of climb.  It is advised to park in the car park next to the Basin Fire Brigade.  There is parking available in front of the shops in the Basin, however these have parking restrictions.

Public toilets are available:

  • At the base of the 1:20
  • In Sassafras at the top of the 1:20


Available at the top and the base of the 1 in 20

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