The Going Home That Will Never Be Forgotten for Bike Enthusiasts
Cycle Hearse Funeral Services for the "Ultimate Last Ride"

The 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.

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cycle hearse funeral service

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.

And this often unnoticed aspect of bikers and bike enthusiasts extends to that "last ride" as well.

The Cycle Hearse Phenomenon

What 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.

The 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 . . .

New York-based Lakeside 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."

"Today 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."

But, 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.

Rodney Blanding Brings It to Alabama

That man is Rodney Blanding, a disabled veteran and motorcycle enthusiast living in Birmingham, Alabama. And here's how Cycle Hearse Funeral Services came about . . .

Rodney 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.

Since 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.

Rodney Blanding Cycle Hearse

Although 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.

There 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.

You 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.

Where He Gets Riding Accessories

As 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, and hats for local motorcycle clubs from Wholesale For Everyone because they are, as he said, "right on point."

So 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 excellent.

The First Step of the Last Ride

At 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.

To find out more about Cycle Hearse Funeral Services and how to give your loved one the ultimate last ride, just call 205-586-4767.



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