Norway Has Invented The Bike Escalator

Scandinavia has a decent-strong track record when it comes to quality of life, regularly topping the charts on all fronts from healthcare to median income. So it’s not surprising they’re also behind one of the more ingenious amenities we’ve heard of in quite some time: escalator-like lifts built into steep city streets to help bikers climb hills without working up a sweat.

Going by the exceptionally Euro-sounding moniker CycloCable, the system is technically quite similar to a ski lift; only instead of towing you from overhead, an angled footplate pushes you forward (at roughly four or five mph) via a special drive train and metal cable setup that’s neatly concealed underground. And since you’re right at ground level, you’re free to hop on or off at your convenience. 

While the industrialized version is just now being introduced to the international market, it’s based on a prototype that was developed and installed in 1993 in Trondheim, Norway, by a dude who grew tired of showing up to work hot and sweaty after battling an uphill commute. Bravo, sir.

Of course, getting this sort of system set up in other hilly cities will require convincing officials of its efficacy. Depending on scale and placement, each one will cost between $2,400 and $3,200 per three feet, though it’s designed to accommodate a card or chip reader, and with the right fee-per-use model, it could presumably pay for itself.

Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He recently ditched his training wheels.