by Lloyd Alter, 18/3/2014
When we recently showed an elevator designed for pedestrians and cyclists, readers were not impressed, calling it serious overkill when all that was needed to get up the hill was a decent path with switchbacks. This may be true for the serious cyclist, but for the average commuter cyclist or older rider, hills can be a real impediment.
One city in Norway dealt with this problem with the Trampe, a sort of ski lift for cyclists. Trondheim first installed it in 1993 and rebuilt it with a newer, supposedly safer system called the CycloCable in 2013. Diehards may say that this kind of thing isn't necessary, but 41% of the users in Trondheim say they are bicycling more because of it.
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.
It is simple to use, and there have been no serious injuries since it opened. Here's what you do:
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.
In Toronto, I live at the top of an escarpment, the old shoreline of Lake Iroquois from 13,000 years ago. You can see Scott Pilgrim walking down the hill in the photo above. It's a serious schlep on a bike and is a big impediment to commuter cycling; Toronto could use a Trampe Cyclocable.