Kunstberg bike-lift first of many
The Kunstberg in central Brussels is to be equipped with a bike-lift from mid-September to help cyclists tackle the steep incline, it was announced last week.
To open in September
The lift has been specially designed as a new version of the world's only bike-lift at present in operation, in Trondheim in Norway (pictured). Not unlike certain types of ski-lift, the Trampe, as it is called in Norwegian, is a continuous band with pedals at intervals. Cyclists put one foot on the moving pedal and stay seated on their bicycle, allowing the moving band to haul them uphill.
The Brussels version is slightly modified, allowing the pedals to fold back into the mechanism when the cyclist lifts his or her foot off, thereby reducing the possibility of accidents. The technique for using the lift takes some getting used to, manufacturers Skirail admitted. "It's a bit like learning to ride a bike." In Norway, meanwhile, the Trampe has become something of a tourist attraction.
But the best things in life are not all free: trips on the bike-lift have to be paid for by magnetic card, perhaps to discourage joy-riders. Pascal Smet, Brussels' mobility minister and himself a cyclist, has now promised another lift for the hill approaching Kruidtuin from the centre. If the two lifts prove successful, others could follow.