It’s no secret that I enjoy climbing the odd hill, particularly if there’s a great view waiting for me at the top. I also don’t mind testing my legs on shorter, steeper rises from time to time which is why I was more than happy to check out a video I was sent via Twitter today (thanks Rob!)
According to the video’s description on YouTube it’s all about:
One man’s battle with gravity, age and stupidity as he cycles “The Gaffney Four” which includes one of the steepest suburban streets in the whole wide world.
As mentioned in the video, the four climbs can be found in the Melbourne suburb of Pascoe Vale, a little more than 10km north-north-west of the CBD. And as mentioned in the video, the four streets are very close together, running parallel up the same hill.
I took a look at the elevation data for the four streets using Google Earth and calculated the following average gradients:
- Gaffney Street: 300m at 9%
- Bolingbroke Street: 200m at 13.5%
- Pardy Street: 200m at 14.5%
- O’Hea Street: 200m at 13%
As high as those average gradients are, it’s the maximum gradients you have to worry about:
- Gaffney Street: 16%
- Bolingbroke Street: 20%
- Pardy Street: 25%
- O’Hea Street: 30%
A gradient of 30% is going to hurt regardless of the gearing you’re running, let alone with the ridiculous 42×23 combination the bloke in the video is running. On that note, here’s the video:
When I first read the video description and saw O’Hea Street described as “one of the steepest suburban streets in the whole wide world”, I was a little sceptical. But, as it turns out, with a maximum gradient of 30% it’s not far off.
Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand is often considered the steepest residential street in the world (and the folks at the Guinness World Records agree), with a reported maximum grade of 35%. Fargo Street in Los Angeles supposedly peaks at 33%, several streets in San Francisco have grades in excess of 30% and Canton Avenue, one of the Pittsburgh Dirty Dozen climbs, is possibly even steeper with a maximum slope of 37%. Yep, ridiculously steep.
It got me wondering: what is the steepest residential street in Melbourne? Is it O’Hea Street? I can think of several streets that are well over 20% — Glenvale Road in Donvale for one — but I haven’t heard of any that touch 30%. Until now.
So, is O’Hea Street the steepest residential street in Melbourne? Or do you know of one that’s steeper? And come to think of it, why limit it to Melbourne? Do you know of any other streets in Australia that touch 30%? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.