World's only bicycle lift is in Norway

Need a lift? An actual bicycle lift in the city of Trondheim, Norway, has provided cyclists with a little boost to the top of a steep hill in the historical part of town since the mid-1990s.

The owner and inventor of the bicycle lift, Design Management AS, says it's the only one in the world. Nearly a quarter-million people have used the lift since testing began in 1993, and the rate has increased to 20,000 to 30,000 a year.

About half of the passengers are college students who attend University of Trondheim at the top of the 425-foot-long hill, and 41% of the users say they ride a bicycle more often because of the lift. The city is the third largest in Norway, but it has the highest number of bicyclists.

Exercise benefit?

When I saw this at the Uber-Review blog, I immediately considered it a waste of money. Weren't people missing the benefits of exercise by hauling it up that big hill? Not so, argues inventor Jarle Wanvik at the Design Management website:

“People using the bicycle as a means of transport do not necessarily want to get very warm and sweaty. And taking on the bicycle will keep them in better shape regardless.”

OK. I'm sold. More people on bicycles is always a good thing.

Wanvik says there has never been an accident on the contraption, and it can carry as many as 300 riders an hour. They pay for its use with a card system.

With completed testing and problem-free operation, the Design Management company is seeking other cities with big hills that might want a Trampe to give bicyclists a lift. Shouldn't this be in a every hilly city's bicycle plan?

Also see more at the Trampe website.

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