Trampe Bicycle Lift in Trondheim

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? We believe there are three reasons:

  1. Trondheim is a university city with 30 000 students, 90 % of whom using their bicycles as their main transport tool.
  2. During the last 20 years, there has been invested more than 20 mill NOK in a bicycle roads network and bicycle transport infrastructure in Trondheim.
  3. One of the most important infrastructure elements is the bicycle lift Trampe. Since the opening in 1993, it’s pushed more than 220, 000 cyclists up the very steep hill Brubakken in the historical heritage part of the city center.

The Trampe bicycle lift is the first, and currently only, bicycle lift in the world. There is no doubt that Trampe has inspired students as well as other people living in Trondheim to take to their bicycles. In a user survey, 41 % of the lift users claim they’re using the bicycle more often due to the installation of Trampe.

The inventor of the Bicycle Lift and the owner of the company Design Management AS, Jarle Wanvik, is a true bicycle enthusiast. 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.

Trondheim is characterized by the old town center down by the seashore with a surrounding, terraced landscape formed back in the ice age. On the banks of these terraces, 100-300 m above sea level, we find most of the living areas, each of them with 20-30 000 inhabitants. On top of one of these terraces is the University of Trondheim.

To increase the usage of bicycles in Trondheim, the Municipality of Trondheim has through the recent years invested 20 mill. 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.

The timing of the idea was good. The need was documented, and the Public Roads Administration had the money to invest in the development project.

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 the 18. August 1993.

To find out more about the Trampe Bicycle Lift in Trondheim in English and Norwegian, visit here at

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