Mak­ing the last ride in style

Christchurch Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MONIQUE STEELE

A new fu­neral ser­vice will take mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­asts on their last ride.

Started around 18 months ago by two Christchurch cou­ples, The Last Ride uses cus­tom-made mo­tor­cy­cle hearses to trans­port loved ones to their fu­neral cer­e­monies.

‘‘Well, it’s the last ride, head­ing to the cre­ma­to­rium or the grave site,’’ said cre­ator Roger Hutchi­son.

‘‘We as Ki­wis cel­e­brate peo­ple’s lives. We cel­e­brate with talk­ing, beers, a bit of non­sense.

‘‘It’s for peo­ple who love their mo­tor­cy­cles. It’s some­thing dif­fer­ent.’’

Christchurch cou­ples Roger and Ann Hutchi­son and Wayne and An­nette Turner, all in their 60s, have worked on con­struct­ing the mo­tor­cy­cle hearse ‘‘ev­ery week­end for the past 15 months.’’

The 2000 Har­ley-David­son with at­tached 7.5-foot cas­ket was re­cently com­pleted and used for the first time for a friend who died of can­cer, trans­port­ing him to his Ka­iapoi fu­neral.

‘‘It’s cost us a for­tune to do it; we sold the boat and the bach,’’ said Ann.

‘‘But it’s one of those things, if you didn’t do it, you’d al­ways won­der. ‘‘It all just fell into place.’’ Roger turned to en­gi­neer and friend Wayne and his fish­ing buddy Graham Esker in Ash­bur­ton to build the cas­ket mold.

‘‘We made the tea and cof­fee but they did An­nette said.

The mo­tor­cy­cle hearse, which weighs around 700-kilo­grams, could be used from Nel­son to In­ver­cargill, trans­ported in its own trailer.

With chrome dec­o­ra­tions, lights, and hel­mets for those who wanted to ride on the back of the mo­tor­bike, Wayne said the bike spoke for it­self.

‘‘How do we go about it? ‘Here’s my card in case you die?’’.

Both men have been rid­ing all the work,’’ mo­tor­cy­cles since they were young boys, and had ‘‘100 years bik­ing be­tween us both.’’

‘‘We just thought it was a good idea for the mo­tor­cy­cle world. And me and Wayne are into bikes,’’ Roger said.

Re­al­is­tic about the niche na­ture of the ser­vice, Ann said be­fore in­vest­ing in the project they all did their home­work by con­tact­ing fu­neral homes around the city.

‘‘Most of them said ‘bring it on’. They were amazed.’’

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