The mayor of North Vancouver paid his own way to test out a unique bike lift in Norway, and hopes it may work in his city.
Darrell Mussatto visited Trondheim on Wednesday to check out a bike escalator that transports cyclists up one of the town's steep hills.
Mussatto told a crowd, "Watch out, I might fall off," before hitting the button to activate the lift. (Watch video above.) A group of excited schoolchildren ran up the hill ahead of him, as the contraption transported the mayor and his bike.
"I wanted to do this for years now and finally found the time to do so," the mayor said in a statement, pointing out that the City of North Van and the Norwegian governments are not paying for anything.
Mussatto did reach out to local Trondheim officials to ask them for a tour of the operation and the bicycle routes in the town. He also met the lift's inventor.
The CycloCable was first introduced to the town in 1993 and has attracted recreational cyclists as well as tourists. The current version can carry up to five cyclists at a time.
"I am hoping that we could put one in operation in our city, perhaps on the west Keith Road hill between Bewicke and Jones," said Mussatto. "It is quite a long hill and a great connection between the lower and central parts of our city."
City staff completed a preliminary study in 2010 to look at how feasible a bike lift like the one in Trondheim would work to connect Lower and Central Lonsdale for cyclists.
It concluded that such a device would not be suitable due to the significant cost and the lack of engineering support. Plus it would clash with traffic and public transportation, said staff.
However, the report did note that Keith Road between Marine Drive and Jones Avenue might be a viable option if more cyclists used the area.
"I think the next step would be to conduct a proper feasibility study to see if it would actually meet our needs, work in this location and to determine more specific cost estimates. I do not want to speculate on costs until I have more factual information," said Mussatto on Thursday.