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Video of odd street contraption highlights major infrastructure issue in the US: 'We need more things like this in America'

After 20 years in operation, the contraption was refurbished in 2013.

After 20 years in operation, the contraption was refurbished in 2013.

Photo Credit: Camilla Hoel / Flickr

So many things in life feel like an uphill battle, but for residents of one Norwegian city, riding a bike doesn't have to be one of them. 

A viral video posted by Fascinating (@fasc1nate) to X, formerly known as Twitter, showcases what is reportedly the world's first bike escalator, originally named Trampe. 

"I'm all about this kind of infrastructure. A nice escalator for cyclists in Norway," reads the heading above the video of a cyclist being automatically moved up a hill by the contraption. 

Trampe was first installed in 1993 and works much the way a ski lift does. To use it, cyclists place their right foot on a footplate attached to a slot running along the curb. The plate then moves the rider up the hill, allowing them to reach the top and continue on without having to dismount.

The escalator is about 426 feet long and moves at a top speed of about three miles per hour. Multiple footplates are spaced every 66 feet, allowing multiple cyclists to use the escalator simultaneously. 

After 20 years in operation, Trampe was refurbished in 2013 by SKIRAIL, a French cable-supported transport company, and rebranded as CycloCable. The company expressed optimism early on that other cities worldwide will adopt the technology, citing a lack of funds for bike infrastructure as keeping this type of bike escalator from taking off — which it still hasn't done yet. There are bicycle lifts of another kind in Asia, but these very different designs require the user to walk alongside.

Bicycling provides a multitude of benefits to both people and the environment. While some cities are working to make it easier and safer for riders, some city residents are actively working to make it more difficult.

Cities that are bike-focused, like Amsterdam, which implemented a city-planning strategy called "traffic calming" have also seen a steep decline in vehicle-related fatalities. 

As our planet continues to dangerously overheat, reducing our reliance on vehicles is increasingly important. Transportation accounts for over 16% of heat-trapping gas pollution globally, with a typical car producing over 10,000 pounds annually. 

So whether or not the CycloCable comes to more cities, any infrastructure that makes bicycling more appealing to more people is a step in the right direction. 

"We need more things like this in America," said one commenter on the video

"Elevating the biking experience," said another

The escalator has many naysayers as well, to which the original poster replied, "I'm not sure how practical it is, but I would have loved it for many bike rides."  

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