Loud bikes and beards, tattoos and chains, black boots and an outlaw lifestyle – that's what comes to mind for most of us when we think about bikers. But, today, that's not always an inaccurate picture or at least not a complete one. For one thing, bikers are often at the forefront of raising money for good causes. One notable example is the Talimena Rally, which raises money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and delivers donated doo rags to kids undergoing treatment for cancer.
this often unnoticed aspect of bikers and bike enthusiasts extends to
that "last ride" as well.
Cycle Hearse Phenomenon
we're talking about is the cycle hearse, which is, basically, a
cycle-driven hearse carriage. But, really, there's a lot more to it
than a brief definition can capture.
cycle hearse is a new twist on or a breakaway from the traditional
funeral. It involves a motorcycle (usually a three-wheeler or trike)
pulling a specially designed hearse carriage to transport departed
loved ones from funeral home to church to graveside service. This
video will help explain . . .
Memorial offers Harley-Davidson motorcycle hearse service
packages designed for "those looking for a less traditional,
more creative and engaging send-off." Here's how they explain
this "alternative choice in funeral arrangements."
bikers have a choice to have an escorted funeral complete with a
hearse pulled by a motorcycle. The dignity of a funeral is maintained
for family, friends, and community so the dedicated biker can have
his or her final ride in style. . . . For many, traditional funerals
do not hold the appeal because their lifestyle acknowledges the
freedom of the ride, the adrenaline of the road and the joy of the
free spirit. Our coach has the ability to transport caskets and urns.
. . . Your friends riding along with you, like they always have,
allows them to be a part of your final ride and send you off the way
you lived – in style."
as appealing as this may be to bikers and the merely curious, there
has been a huge problem. Up until fairly recently, this service has
been available only in northern states, places like Michigan and New
York. Now, however, thanks to one man in particular, this unique
service is available in the South.
Blanding Brings It to Alabama
man is Rodney Blanding, a disabled veteran and motorcycle enthusiast
living in Birmingham, Alabama. And here's how Cycle Hearse Funeral
Services came about . . .
participates in a lot of cross-country rides and has a number of
biker friends up North. So he was aware of the popularity of cycle
hearse services in that region. When his brother, whom he used to
ride with, passed away, Rodney wanted to send him off in style.
So Rodney set about looking for this kind of service closer to home for his brother's send-off. He finally located one in Detroit. The end result was a great last ride for his brother and a funeral that impressed everyone involved. But the financial cost was just too much, so Rodney took matters into his own hands.
everyone was so impressed with his brother's cycle hearse funeral,
Rodney had his own built. It was built in Canada and constructed of
special wood and glass and designed to be pulled behind his Harley.
And what started out a just a hobby and service to fellow bikers has
now become a well received business that caters to an under-served
niche in the area.
Blanding Cycle Hearse
headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Rodney's Cycle Hearse Funeral
Services is available for out-of-state engagements up to 1,000 miles
away. Using a 26-foot enclosed trailer and truck, he has traveled to
Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.
is, of course, a mileage charge when he has to travel. Still, though,
Rodney does this, as he says, more for the enjoyment than for the
profit, simply wanting to provide a needed to service to Americans
and especially veterans. He his even done some services for free, but
always offers discounts to veterans (both active duty and retired
military), first responders, and government employees.
also never have to worry about Rodney getting there on time. For
travel services, he always arrives a day ahead of time and spends the
night in a nearby motel. That way, he can be sure to get to the
funeral home or church promptly for the travel part of the service.
He Gets Riding Accessories
an interesting aside, when asked where he gets his riding
accessories, Rodney was quick to respond, "From Wholesale
For Everyone, of course." He always gets doo rags, bandanas,
for local motorcycle clubs from Wholesale For Everyone because they
are, as he said, "right on point."
we asked what he meant by "right on point." He explained
that he and fellow local bikers order these accessories from
Wholesale For Everyone because the products are "good quality,"
the company is "dependable," and the customer service is
First Step of the Last Ride
the end of our interview, we asked Rodney what he wants the takeaway
to be. He said, first, that he is "proud to be an American"
and that he simply wants to give people "a last ride to be
remembered." And that is certainly a good summation of what he
is and what he does.
find out more about Cycle Hearse Funeral Services and how to give
your loved one the ultimate last ride, just call 205-586-4767.