Most embarrassing to any cyclist, of any skill level, is having to walk their bike up a hill with an incline to steep for them to pedal up. Giving up and walking up a hill is like the cyclist walk of shame, and probably deters a lot of new cyclists from taking to the many hills of Montreal. Would things be different if Montreal had a mechanical bike-assist to aid people in conquering super-steep hills?

One European city took the idea into action and created the world's first bicycle-escalator, now known as the CycloCable, to help out casual cyclists and encourage greener modes of transportation.

Noticing how many cyclists were unable to traverse a particularly steep hill, the city of Trondehim, Norway, installed a 130 meter-long bike escalator way back in 1993. Last year, in 2013, the bike-assist got a safety and price upgrade (free!), as well as a new name: the CycloCable.

The CycloCable isn't a complex mechanism. Just put your right foot onto the start-slot/pad, placing all your weight onto the mechanical stretcher, and not your bike. From there the CycloCable will take you (and your bike) up the hill, with the start slot disappearing underneath the track, kind of like an escalator.

Montreal is a city built on a giant hill, and the urban area has some particularly super-steep spots that a CycloCable would be incredibly helpful, even to cycling veterans. The so-steep-it-needs-stairs hill on l'Hotel-de-Ville and Sherbrooke comes to mind, as does Clark street in Westmount and Simpson (between Sherbrooke and Dr. Pen). Winter would be another great application, assuring no one slides back down an icy hill.

Do you think Montreal could use a CycloCable?

For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte

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