Hilly cities eye bike escalators

It works a bit like one of those ski lifts that pushes you up the slope while you're standing. Norway has one. San Francisco and Pittsburgh are looking into it.

Getting pushy: The Trampe CycloCable in action in Trondheim, Norway.
 WARNING: If you're a bicycling purist, turn away now.

But if you're one of those people who says you'd cycle much more if not for all those hills, take note: A lift for you and your bike could be coming to your city. 

The idea is simple, albeit it would take a tad getting used to. Get to the bottom of the hill, keep your roadside foot on the bike's pedal, and put your inside tootsie -- and all your weight -- on a pad that sits on the road or sidewalk. Up you go, pushed by a buried cable attached to the pad.

The system, called the CycloCable, is made by France's POMA Group, a company that is well practiced in all sorts of cable transportation systems ranging from land-based and aerial lifts for cities, ski-resorts and tourist areas.

POMA has been been operating a CycloCable for a couple years in Trondheim, Norway, where it is called the Trampe CycloCable, based on a lift that has assisted cyclists up the 426-foot Brubakken hill since 1993.

Now, POMA wants to install the system around the world, reports the website The Atlantic Cities, which says that officials in San Francisco and Pittsburgh have expressed interest.

Given financing and engineering challenges, it might be a while before this idea climbs to the top. Purists are safe for now, except in Trondheim. But watch for the CycloCable to eventually get into gear elsewhere.

Top photo is from the Trampe CycloCable website. Cover photo is from Miljopakken Share Alike License via Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com