You see a cyclist effortlessly gliding up a big steep hill, a grin overcoming their non-sweaty face and you think, are they in the best shape ever? Do they have a special kind of bike? No, and no. It’s actually the world’s first bike escalator responsible for allowing people to effortlessly travel by bike uphill.
As if Norway wasn’t already cool enough, they have something that appeals to anyone that rides a bike for transportation: a bike escalator.
Known as the bike capital of Norway, Trondheim residents can ditch their gas-guzzling vehicles for bikes without worrying about peddling up a steep hill. Norway has built the world’s very first bike escalator. If you ride your bike to school or work you are sure going to wish your community would install one of these helpful devices.
It might sound like something new, but this awesome invention has been around for a number of years. Back in 1992, a cyclist commuter by the name Jarle Wanvik invented the Trampe lift to help him get to work each day without showing up soaked in sweat and exhausted.
His unique vision for a bike lift that could pull cyclists uphill has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Trondheim. Tourists are naturally attracted to the awesome feature, but it also helps bicyclists get to work without feeling deterred about taking their bike.
Recently, the bike escalator, which has been used by more than 200,000 bicyclists over the last 15 years, underwent some major upgrades and is now called the CycloCable.
The technology used to create the bike escalator is very similar to a ski lift. Most of the design elements are located just beneath the ground, allowing the CycloCable to remain out of the way and safe. Since the bike lift is made for crowded urban areas, it was designed to be concealed and discrete so that it does not dominate the environment or present any dangers to people and property.
The location of the CycloCable couldn’t be more perfect, as it takes bike riders up a harsh incline that stretches just over 426 feet. Every 65 feet the CycloCable has the capacity to carry another cyclist, giving a max of 360 bike riders a lift each hour. Five people with bikes in tow can ride up the escalator at one time.
Using the CycloCable is very simple; cyclists place one foot on the platform and sit back while they are taken up the hill at 5 mph. It’s not just bikes that can use the CycloCable, basically any small transportation with wheels, such as a scooter or baby stroller, can benefit from using the escalator system.
Your bike offers a cheap way to get from one place to another, but it also helps improve your health by promoting physical activity. AND, bike riding helps save the planet by reducing pollution and the need for gasoline.
Despite all of these perks, traveling up an incredibly steep hill can be the end of a fun bike ride and the beginning of an uphill battle. Perhaps why so many of you drive to work as opposed to hoping on a bike.
It’s better for you and the environment to ride a bike instead of driving a car; maybe if bike escalators were stationed in more areas the popularity of bikes would soar.
Before you can convince your local government to build a bike escalator, you will likely have to prove it’s going to get a lot of use. After all, it costs roughly $2,000-3,000 just to build one meter of this unique elevator system.
Watch a video featuring the bicycle lift in action: