10/30/2014

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Bicycle hearse offers 'one last ride' to final resting place

Bicycle hearse offers 'one last ride' to final resting place

EUGENE, Ore. - Wade Lind takes the lid off a 7-foot bamboo coffin inside his business, Sunset Hills Funeral Home.

"When a person's in there, it's just so delicate looking," Lind says.

He turns the lid over to reveal the intricate, hand-crafted lattice pattern.

It looks much like a regular basket.

"In the basket aspect, the weaving is similar," Lind said, "but different as far as these are designed to carry up to 300 pounds of weight, where as a basket is not."

There's eco-friendly - and then there's green to the grave.

Lind's funeral home offers natural burials, which he calls an alternative to cremation.

And if it would turn your cranks to not burn fossil fuel en route to your final resting place, Lind offers what appears to be the only bicycle hearse in America.
 

Alternative burials in demand - and less expensive



Every year, Lind said, his funeral home sees more demand for these caskets that look like baskets.

They are one of a kind creations - and cost thousands of dollars cheaper than a traditional metal casket.

Sunset Hills Cemetery & Funeral Home does offer traditional burial products and services.

They also feature a custom-made bicycle hearse.

"When people see it, they do a doubletake and that's kind of a neat thing," Lind said. "It expands their perception. It takes away the fear of death."

Lind said he thought of the idea mid-Big Mac bite at McDonald's.

"A bunch of bicyclists rode up and parked their bikes and we started joking about making a bicycle hearse," Lind said. "I sketched out what I wanted on a napkin."

The bicycle hearse took 2 weeks to design and build.

Lind built it to pedal the deceased on "one last ride" through the scenic bicycle paths of Eugene.

"It takes a little bit to get used to because it doesn't handle like a regular bicycle," he said. "It's extremely long, and you have to really think about your turns.

"And of course, who you're carrying in the back."

With 120 pounds of metal and another 150-300 pounds in dead weight, the bicycle hearse can be quite the heavy load. Lind said he solved that problem last fall when he electrified the bicycle hearse.

"I added a hub motor on to get me up and down the hills and give that little extra boost," Lind said.

The ride and casket together costs about $3,500. It's a fraction of the cost of a traditional funeral. So far, Lind has bicycled 5 bodies to their final destination - and now there is a waiting list.

Lind said he designed the bicycle hearse with one corpse in mind:

His own.

"I would be the person in the back of it," Lind said, "so I wanted to design something that was unique and that celebrates a life."

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