Sperm bank to grave on a bike

bicycle hearse
© Bededamerne

From what I've heard, Danish people don't really think about their "bicycle culture." Bicycling is just a part of life, as ubiquitously invisible to them as checking the mail is to us. So, it's not that surprising that you can actually go from a sperm bank to the grave on a bicycle in Copenhagen.

Mike covered the "sperm bike" back in 2011, and it showed up again recently in a video about Copenhagen bicycling, so I assume you're familiar with that side of the story by now.

On the flip side of life, you can also head to the graveyard on a bicycle in Copenhagen. Well, actually, on a tricycle.

The human-powered hearse was built by an undertaker, Sille Kongstad. Apparently, the idea came from checking out photos of horse-drawn horses, which Sille thought looked beautiful and "feminine."

Aside from the uniqueness and simplistic beauty of the tricycle hearse, the small environmental footprint of Sille's hearse has attracted a number of her customers. It's very logical. One trip in a vehicle may not be a big deal, but what environmentally conscious person wants their last ride to be one that harms the environment?

Ironically, the beauty that drew Sille to start up this business has not been identified by some Danes. Concerns about it being undignified and "scary for children" have been tossed around on Facebook. Sille commented that "children generally had fewer fears and hang-ups over death than their parents did," news.com.au notes.

Furthermore, I thought the claim that it could be scary for kids was ironic given that cars are a lot scarier to children than bikes, and big, strange, black cars probably even more so.

I'm pretty sure I've run across bicycle hearses before, but they are very rare and I'm not finding any stories on them that I have seen before. However, I did find that there's a man in Oregon who offers such a service, perhaps the only such service in North America. He also offers his customers bamboo coffins.

The last ride is clearly an important one for families and friends, and some people feel very strongly about how they want to go out. To me, riding out on a tricycle hearse seems much more peaceful, natural, and beautiful. I hope the practice becomes more common, and I hope it's available in my area when I start planning for that.

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