Ridge Road/Fiddlers Elbow Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

2.3
FIETS
1.3 mi
DISTANCE
722 ft
GAINED
10.5 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): John Summerson, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) 2nd Ed.

INTRO

“Almost mythical in some cycling circles, Fiddlers Elbow Road in western New Jersey is short and very steep towards its end, a perfect combination. Through thick woods for much of its length, after a shallow start the grade soon kicks up. What follows is an extremely steep half mile that includes a stretch of 20+% grade just before the summit. The slope then eases just before the unmarked top. The entire climb (Ridge Road plus Fiddlers Elbow) is 1.4 miles at 9.9% average grade. This is one of the steepest maximum grade climbs outside of the super short hills in Pittsburgh, PA and San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA.” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson, from his book The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition; page 93.)
The average grade is 10.5% with 720' gained in a mere 1.3 miles with 0 descent.  34% of the climb is at 5-10% grade, 29% at 10-15%, 19% at 15-20%, and 4% is at a punishing ≥ 20%.  This one saves the best for last - the steepest quarter-mile (at the finish) is 15.9% and the steepest half-mile is 14.2%.

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Roadway:  Fair to good two lane roadway with center stripe.

Traffic:  Minimal. 

Parking: We parked at Rock Creek Tavern 6/10ths of a mile from climb start (we suggest asking permission)  - MapStreet View
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MEMBER RATING

Difficulty: Strenuous
5
Road
5
Traffic
4
Scenery

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Jul 31, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 5
Jul 31, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 5
road: 5
The first section, Ridge Road, is fairly easy. After 1/2 mile you turn on Fiddlers Elbow, which has fresh pavement (July 2021). There are two steeper ramps with recovery zones in between. The third and final ramp is a doozy. The road is mostly shaded and on a Saturday morning I saw just a few cars, all coming downhill. You will be tempted to paperboy the final ramp, but don’t cross the centerline.
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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Fiddlers Elbow, New Jersey - bike parked against sign for Mile 37 on roadside

Cycling Fiddlers Elbow

The steepest bike climb in New Jersey.

Ride 1.3 miles gaining 722’ at 10.5% average grade.

“Almost mythical in some cycling circles, Fiddlers Elbow Road in western New Jersey is short and very steep towards its end, a perfect combination.  Through thick woods for much of its length, after a shallow start the grade soon kicks up.  What follows is an extremely steep half mile that includes a stretch of 20+% grade just before the summit.  The slope then eases just before the unmarked top.  The entire climb (Ridge Road plus Fiddlers Elbow) is 1.4 miles at 9.9% average grade.  This is one of the steepest maximum grade climbs outside of the super short hills in Pittsburgh, PA and San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA.” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson, from his book The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition; page 93.)

Cycling Fiddlers Elbow, New Jersey - photo collage, greenish and yellow fall foliage, two PJAMM Cyclists standing on one-lane roadway with bikes waving, Garmin device showing 23% grade, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Don’t mock the “speed”!!

You try riding with one hand up 23% taking photos of your Garmin and send me a photo! 👍👍

This is the steepest bike climb in New Jersey.  The steepest quarter mile is at the end of the climb and averages 16%.  

Cycling Fiddlers Elbow, New Jersey - photo collage, sign for harmony Township, bike parked against road sign on side of road, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Start the climb at Ridge Road T intersection with Belvedere Road.  

Cycling Fiddlers Elbow, New Jersey - bike parked against road sign at intersection of Ridge Road and Fiddlers Elbow Road

Turn left onto Fiddlers Elbow at mile 0.6 and suffer for 7/10 of a mile.  😓

Traffic and Roadway Report:  This is a narrow rural road with minimal traffic and a great surface as of September 2020.

That’s a wrap!!