The Trampe bicycle lift in Trondheim (Norway)

By News Editor / Updated: 29 Aug 2014

Trondheim is the first city in the world with a lift specifically designed for cyclists. The bicycle lift, developed in Trondheim, takes cyclists up the steep hill at Brubakken, without their having to descend from their bikes.

Background & Objectives

Hilly cities normally have a low share of cycling. How come that Trondheim, the third largest city of Norway, has the highest share of cycling compared to all the other Norwegian cities?

There are three conceivable reasons:

  • Trondheim is a university city with 30,000 students, 90% of whom use their bicycles as their main mode of transport.
  • During the last 20 years, more than 20 million NOK (appr. 2,5 million euros) was invested in a bicycle roads network and bicycle transport infrastructure in Trondheim.
  • One of the most important infrastructure elements is the bicycle lift Trampe. Since the opening in 1993, it's pushed more than 220 000 cyclist up the very steep hill Brubakken in the historical heritage part of the city centre.

There is no doubt that Trampe has inspired students as well as other people living in Trondheim to take up cycling. In a user survey, 41% of the lift users claim they are using the bicycle more often due to the installation of Trampe.

History and Implementation

The Bicycle Lift was invented by bicycle enthusiast and owner of the company Design Management AS, Jarle Wanvik. He always finds an excuse for parking his car and using his bicycle instead.

In daily transport to and from work, to the shopping center etc., it is uncomfortable to be too warm and sweaty. In 1992, Wanvik got luminous visions about a bicycle lift that could carry cyclists uphill. Inspired by the ski lift technology, he visualized a lift design by which the cyclists could be pushed uphill without having to descend the bicycle. Wanvik's home town is Trondheim, the third largest city of Norway, housing 150,000 inhabitants and 30,000 students. Taking into account the topography of Trondheim, it is no surprise that the idea of a bicycle lift was conceived here.

To increase the usage of bicycles in Trondheim, the Municipality of Trondheim has through the recent years invested 20 million NOK in building multiple, connected bicycle roads. Due to topographical height differences, however, there is limited bicycle commuting to and from the town center. In job/school commuting or shopping the last thing you want to be is sweaty, and climbing the hills to the top of the terraces in Trondheim will guarantee copious amounts of perspiration.

In 1992, the traffic planners of the local Public Roads Administration and the Municipal of Trondheim were looking for new, efficient means to increase the usage of the bicycle road network. The thought of bicycle lifts had already crossed their minds when Wanvik asked for a presentation of his new idea.

After having simulated the basic principle of the new product - pushing the cyclist by his backwardly stretched foot - the Public Roads Administration was convinced. In November 1992, Design Management AS was asked to deliver and install a prototype of the lift at Bakklandet, situated close to the town center and consisting of a commonly used hill leading to the university campus.

Wanvik joined forces with the experienced mechanical engineer Stein Løvold and the electrical engineer Magnar Wahl. The local ski lift manufacturer, Protek AS, was picked to manufacture and assemble the world’s first bicycle lift. More than 2000 people enjoyed the opening ceremony of TRAMPE on 18 August 1993.


Bicycle Lift Evaluation: all card holders were prompted to evaluate certain aspects of the Bicycle Lift. The scale ranges from 1 to 6, with 1 meaning poor and 6 meaning great. Subject Points:

  • Product Idea 5,28
  • Userfriendliness 4,02
  • Security 4,55
  • Design 4,70
  • Speed 4,06
  • Noise Reduction 4,60
  • Directions for Use 4,81
  • Energy Saving 4,47
  • Tourist Attraction 4,95

in 2007, the lift in Trondheim was still the single one in the world. The trip counter of the lift discloses 200,000 trips in 12 years. There have been no injuries. The lift in Trondheim is installed in a steep hill between the city center and the University campus, and 50% of the users are students.

The bicycle lift has now been commercialized as the Cyclocable® by the french ropeway and funicular company POMA SA. The new lift will be installed in Trondheim as a replacement of the first bicycle lift in Brubakken hill. The Cyclocable ® has been approved by the EU directive 2000/9/EC of March 2000 relating to cableways installations designed to carry persons.

The main difference between the old lift and the Cyclocable ® is the retractable pedal. As soon as, and whenever on the track, the cyclist takes his foot off the pedal, it will retract into the rail housing. Pedals with no "passengers" will no loner walk alone uphill and potentially hit people or crossing vehicles.

The Cyclocable ® will be in full operation in Trondheim during spring 2012, and 2-3 more lifts are planned in the Trondheim area in the years to come.


Source and references

Walking and cycling
Jarle Wanvik
Jarle Wanvik
planning - network design
planning - user needs
Microsoft Office document icon test_site_report.doc1.04 MB
PDF icon flyer_cyclocable.pdf663.02 KB
04 Apr 2007
29 Aug 2014