Bikers Heaven offers a ‘last ride’
By Puakea Olaisha Anderson
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Bikers Heaven owners Herman Johnson and Diann Letson created a unique approach for families to transport their deceased loved ones for a funeral. The deceased are carried by a 2010 Harley Davidson Street glide Trike and a hearse that was handmade in Jackson.
“We carry the deceased to the funeral home to the cemetery or the church to cemetery,” Johnson told the Michigan Citizen. “It’s a three-wheeler pulling a hearse.”
Johnson also provides a service called “last ride.” “We also do cremation (and) we give the deceased their last ride,” says Johnson. “We do a lot of last rides through the neighborhoods for cremation.”
Pictures are displayed on the outside of the hearse. Johnson, 62, a Chrysler retiree came up with the idea three years ago and gives credit to his partner Letson, 61, a CPA, for executing the idea. “It was my idea to do it and Diann followed through with my idea, Johnson told the Michigan Citizen. “I cannot take all the credit. I was the first African American to start the business.”
Johnson has been an active member of Detroit Gentlemen Motor Cycle Club located on Detroit’s west side since 1981. Johnson has not only provided funeral transportation for the Detroit Gentlemen, but for the Outcast, Toros, Sidekicks and Omen M/C’s. Johnson considers his business venture as an investment.
“It was not about the money. I love motorcycles. It gave me something to do,” said Johnson. “It’s a joy to help other people and see the smiles on their faces; it touches my heart.”
Letson says safety is important while operating a motorcycle.
“The three-wheeler is different from riding a two-wheeler,” said Letson. “I took a class at Schoolcraft and it is important to learn the skills and practice safety. I got the endorsement to ride the three-wheeler in a three-day class.”
Every June, Letson and Johnson present at an annual Outreach ministry on Chicago and Telegraph to educate families about how they can transport their loved ones. Bikers Heaven will be a vendor at a motorcycle expo at WCCCD on April 27. The event is open to the public.
For more information about Bikers Heaven, go to www.bikersheaven.net or call 313.766.5248.