A Swiss funeral home has launched a surprising proposal: to replace the usual hearse that carries the coffin with the corpse with a cargo bike. The initiative, which takes place in Bern, is a success, with one or two services a week.
If there is something that we all have clear in this life, sooner or later, we are going to say goodbye to her. To die, in other words. Thus, an indisputable fact constitutes the business around which Aurora revolves, a funeral company based in different cities in Switzerland, specifically in places like Biel, Thun, Meikirch, or Bern.
It is precisely in the latter where, for a few months, Aurora has offered an exceptional service: that of transporting the coffin to the cemetery in a vehicle as unique as an electric cargo bike! For our funerals, they explain that an open approach to death is the cornerstone of our daily philosophy. That is why, on request, we offer a cargo bike specially adapted for the last trip.
"This last journey, slow and silent, slows down the hectic pace of our daily life," say those responsible for the Aurora funeral home.
And that is a service, of course, conceived for those who loved cycling like few things in their life. Because Aurora goes further: "The bicycle is a sustainable vehicle, both in its operation and in its manufacture. More than any other funeral vehicle," they say from the company. "So using it is a special experience, perhaps only comparable to an old hearse. This last slow and silent journey slows down the hectic pace of our daily lives, leaving us time to breathe." And, in addition, the funeral home offers a unique option: accompany the transfer with the deceased person's bicycle, turning the ritual into something memorable.
"The positive feeling that always connects me to my bike," explains Aurora manager Gyan Härri, "inspired me to create the funeral bike. It arose from a motivation: to combine an event as profound as the last goodbye to a person with the lightness of a pleasant bike ride. The result is more exciting encounters and some extraordinary conversations that emerged on that journey around the funeral bike. "
The model has been named Bestattervelo, which, translated, would be something similar to a "burial bicycle" and stems from the passion that arose in Härri the first time he tested a cargo bike. To build it, Härri turned to Sjoerd van Rooijen and his company, DoubleDutch, who adapt and distribute cargo bikes in Switzerland. Between them, they drew several drafts, and, finally, they adapted an Urban Arrow Tender, a model of the Dutch brand with three wheels (two in front). The first 'Bestattervelo' was completed in spring 2021 and has been requested once or twice a week since then, skyrocketing the funeral home's popularity.