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Trampe Cyclocable — Norway’s “Ski Lift For Cyclists”

Have you ever taken the car or the bus instead of biking solely because you didn’t want to have to struggle up some giant hill (or hills) along the way to your destination? Well, it looks like the country of Norway has come up with the perfect solution for you. Meet the Cyclocable, something that is, more-or-less, simply a ski-lift for bicyclists.

While the “Cyclocable” is itself new, the concept isn’t — the city of Trondheim has actually had something similar, the Trampe, since 1993. The Cyclocable is simple a reworking/rebuilding of the Trampe with improvements to make it safer.

Image Credit: © Trampe Cyclocable

Image Credit: © Trampe Cyclocable

While it’s easy to say that such systems are unnecessary, the honest truth is that one of the main reasons that more people don’t bike is because of the effort required while doing things like going uphill — the easier and more enjoyable it’s made to be, the more people will do it. And it’s worth noting as well that such systems open biking up to people who simply may not be able to otherwise, those unable to simply power their way up steep hills, such as senior citizens, those with disabilities, etc.

At any rate, the citizens of Trondheim seem to be quite happy with the system — according to a recent poll, more than 41% of the users in the city are bicycling more because of the system.

TreeHugger provides some information on how the system works:

The Trondheim lift is 130 meters long (420 feet) and climbs an 18% grade; the distributors of the patented system say it can be as long as 500 meters or 1,640 feet.

Its functionality is reminiscent of that of a ski lift. It consists of a wire rope with 11 foot plates attached to the rope. At the starting point, there is an accelerator (kind of piston) to make the start easier. The foot plate takes over the cyclist after the accelerator. When leaving the foot plate it vanishes into the rail housing.

While standing astride the bicycle, put your left foot on the left pedal. Furthermore, place your right foot in the start slot of the start station. Stretch your right leg backwards determinedly while still keeping your right foot in the start slot. Remember, you are preparing for the coming push from the soft start mechanism.

This is very clever; as in a high speed chair lift, there is a mechanism to let it start slowly and built up to speed instead of hitting you with a jerk. It then carries you on your way in comfort and style without working up a sweat.

Sounds interesting. I can think of a couple of hills in my city — just offhand — that could use such a system.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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