Norway is considered to be a bike-friendly country. According to data solutions group Norstat, in 2017, 75% of Norway’s population owned a bicycle. Although healthy and inexpensive, this vehicle is limited with steep terrain.
However, the slopes are no longer a problem for the inhabitants of Trondheim, northeastern Norway. In 1993, Jarle Wanvik invented the Trampe – the elevator for the bicycle. The name means “stomped on the spot” in Norwegian, partly describing how it works. CycloCable, the only bicycle elevator in the world, helps users easily “conquer” the height of 128 m.
Jarle Wanvik invented the elevator because he was too tired to cycle long distances, and always arrived at the office in a wet sweat and exhaustion. Besides, the large number of students in the area and the mountainous terrain in Trondheim is also the reason why he made this idea come true. He envisioned the lift acting as a forklift while skiing, gently bringing the cyclist from the foot to the top of the hill. His idea was supported by the Public Road Administration.
The bar works quite simply: the user places his right foot on one of the 11 pedals fixed to the track, the left foot remains on the pedals. They then plugged the card into the scanner and pressed the “Start” button. The right footrest will reverse backward and slowly push the driver up the hill at 8km per hour for the rest of the way. The bicycle now acts as a support. It may look precarious and laborious, but the trick is that the operator should extend his right leg back, put his weight on the footrest and lean forward slightly. The manufacturer believes it helps users save energy and has an enjoyable uphill experience. Up to 5 people can use it at the same time.
After selecting the producer and planning the details, Wanvik and the Trondheim City government proceeded to choose a suitable hill. This hill is the desire of cyclists and also becomes the tourist attraction of the city. It is located close to the center of town and leads up to the university campus – perfect location for both students and commuters. The key card elevator ride fee is 100 Kroner (more than 10 USD) per year for residents, a disposable card is free for tourists.
Not only the bicycle, but the operator of the stroller and scooter can use it.
In 2013, the ladder was upgraded and renamed to CycloCable – quickly becoming a magnet for curious tourists. So far, it has helped more than 200,000 cyclists ride uphill at Brubakken near Gamle Bybro, from the bridge to the Kristianten fortress.
There is a question that arises: Why is such a great invention not being applied in other countries around the world? According to Trampe’s official website, it is not that other countries are not interested in this product, on the contrary, it is very well received in Europe, Asia and America. They also promise to install this product in the future.
However, to implement this concept, the bicycle infrastructure needs to be completed in advance. In many places this means they need a separate bike lane if they want to go on with ambitious projects like Trampe.