How to keep cycling after you die
Two-wheeled funeral anyone?
Two-wheeled funeral anyone?
So, here you are. You’re dead. All of your life you loved cycling, couldn’t get enough of the thing. Sunday mornings, holidays abroad traversing mountain ranges that got close to touching the heavens (but not as close as you are now!).
Death is sad. Particularly for you, who will no longer be able to ride your bike anymore. But fear not. It turns out that there is an easy way to keep cycling after you’ve slipped off your mortal coil. Just get buried via bike.
A new Parisian company has invented the ‘Corbicyclette‘, a hearse on wheels for your family to pedal you to your final resting place on a giant yet sombre cargo bike. Because it’s an e-bike it means the vehicle doesn’t emit exhaust gases, is silent and doesn’t vibrate.
“The Corbicyclette [a combination of the French words for hearse and bicycle] makes its way gently to the final resting place,” the company says of its invention. “We follow it, we surround it, in a gentle procession, on foot, by bicycle, on roller skates…The Corbicyclette allows a new ritual of accompaniment, delicacy on the path of mourning.”
While the promotional image at the top of this article looks slightly over-egged (unless it’s the characters in the Matrix gathering to mourn the passing of Neo), it is a nice idea for those looking to honour a close one who was a cyclist in a fitting way.
But it turns out this sort of thing already existed in the bike-obsessed Netherlands.
Hans Scheerder has been running his own funeral home business since 2014 with one mission: “anything is possible”.
The Dutchman tells CyclingTips he is someone who thinks outside the box and has a progressive approach to life.
“I talk a lot with the bereaved, to find out what is important when saying goodbye to their loved one,” Scheerder says. “And so it occasionally happens that the family does not want a usual hearse, but a bicycle, for example. This is because the family cycled a lot. And in the Netherlands, of course, that happens a lot.”
And so Scheerder set about making that possible.
“So it is possible to transport the deceased by bicycle. A family member can then cycle themselves to bring the deceased to the crematorium or cemetery.”
The innovation of the funeral by bike hasn’t been without hiccups, though, and society will likely take some time to adapt before it’s normal to see people cycling a body down the street.
“Last summer I had a funeral by bicycle,” Scheerder remembers. “Together with the family we cycled 7 km to the crematorium. The weather was beautiful. On the way we came across a rider on a horse, and he called out, ‘Are you going to have a picnic?’ Five seconds later she saw the funeral box and she shouted ‘sorry’ very loudly. Both the family and I were able to laugh a lot anyway.”
The traditional hearse is still the most common for funerals in the Netherlands, but if a family doesn’t want a hearse or hearse-cycle, Scheerder also has another option: the funeral motorbike.