AAA Bicycle Roadside Service

The American Automobile Association is now offering roadside service for bicyclists in Oregon and Idaho. No actual mechanical assistance will be provided, but a stranded bicyclist will be entitled to a lift to anywhere within a 25-mile radius.

  • Bicycle transportation service is provided for the rider whose bicycle is disabled.
  • Service will be provided to any point of safety within a 25-mile radius of the bicycle breakdown.
  • Service applies to all bicycles and tandems, including rental bicycles.
  • Service is only available within the AAA Oregon/Idaho coverage area, which includes Oregon and the southern 34 counties of Idaho.

The program is a first for AAA, and if successful, it may be extended to other areas in the country. The Better World Club has offered nationwide roadside assistance for bicyclists since 2003.

AAA Oregon

22 Responses to “AAA Bicycle Roadside Service”

  • Colin says:

    Stick with the Better World Club. AAA does a lot of lobbying for auto-centric policy, like spending more money on highways instead of on multi-modal infrastructure. I’d rather my money didn’t go to that sort of effort.

  • Neil says:

    I have to agree with Colin (though I am not in USA). While there is merit in the concept, you should seriously question whether you want to give your money to a car-centric group that lobbies for motorists.

    Also while idea of cycle breakdown may be a good one, aren’t the majority of trips, especially by people just starting out, going to be within a few miles. So it will be very cost sensitive – useful peace of mind if cheap enough, but not like a car where major inconvenience and costs are incurred if you breakdown and have to get a tow truck.

  • bongobike says:

    The thing is, why would you need AAA? Most bicycle breakdowns are easily repaired on the road. If you are going on a long bike ride out in the country, you should be an experienced bike rider who knows how to fix a flat tire, broken cables, chains, emergency wheel trueing, etc., and carry the tools to do so. If you’re not prepared to do this, you shouldn’t be riding in the boonies. If you have a crash that is bad enough to really wreck your bike, then you probably need medical assistance too. In that case, you grab your cell phone and call 911, or a friend or relative if it’s not really an emergency.

  • Paul says:

    BUT, if you DO happen to have AAA, and you DO happen to find yourself stranded out ( spare tubes are bad, ran out of patches, CO2 dead, whatever…) having that as a backup is a nice bonus. We have AAA with teenage drivers, I will definitely keep it in the back of my mind should I need it.

    Paul

  • ksteinhoff says:

    I don’t remember if I shared this the other day. The Florida Department of Transportation has set up an Emergency Ride Home program for commuters in some counties, including cyclists.

    http://www.palmbeachbiketours.com/2009/07/27/florida-offers-bike-commuters-emergency-rides/

    You register, then you can get up to six free taxi rides if you aren’t able to make your commute.

    I don’t know how practical it is, but it’s a step in the right direction by reducing one more concern that commuters have.

  • mr. crab says:

    I will never give another penny to AAA (or CAA here in Canada), due to their reactionary anti-bicycle political lobbying.

    Problems that require this kind of assistance are rare – a broken frame, crank, or tacoed wheel are all that come to mind (if you can’t even fix a flat, you shouldn’t be riding 25 miles from town). So if you don’t already have roadside assistance for your car, I think calling a cab if and when it happens would be cheaper than maintaining a membership.

  • Alan says:

    @bongobike

    My wife is an example of someone who might benefit from roadside service. She often runs errands across town and carries heavy loads (mostly groceries) on her bike. She’s an extremely capable woman, but she doesn’t consider herself a mechanic by any stretch and is not likely to get into repairs as involved as replacing spokes or repairing broken chains on the side of the road. If she had a mechanical breakdown across town it would mean either walking 5-10 miles with a bike full of groceries or calling a friend or relative who may or may not be available (or have a vehicle capable of hauling a bicycle). I’m not saying we’re necessarily ready to sign up for roadside service, but I can imagine it being a useful service for some individuals.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    For the record, I’m not advocating for AAA over Better World Club or vice-versa; I have little experience with either. The big news to me was that a behemoth like AAA thought there was money to be made by offering the service, a fact that may say something positive about the growing use of bicycles for transportation.

  • Thom says:

    Who defines “point of safety”, the driver of the AAA vehicle or the bicyclist?

  • Gussy says:

    They are doing a similar but better service in Vancouver and maybe Victoria, BC. It is called BIke Assist. It is much more valuable than AAA or anything i have heard of, they actually fix your bike for you on the side of the road! So you don’t have to spend lots of time waiting for people to show then take it to the shop. I think it is a great idea. They also do Car repairs from the bike also, to cut thru the traffic. Not sure how large a repair they do, but still, some gas in the tank, blown fuse etc, might be good to have.

    http://www.bcaa.com/wps/portal/membership/benefits?rdePathInfo=xchg/bcaa-com/hs.xsl/8309.htm

  • Alan says:

    @Thom

    My guess is that it’s no different than the auto coverage (they take you wherever you want to go within the coverage radius).

  • Steve says:

    It is interesting that AAA is willing to experiment with bicycle coverage at no additional cost. To get AAA coverage on a motorscooter or motorcycle, you need to carry the additional charge AAA Plus *and* add on RV/Motorhome coverage. So, alternate transportation methods are not treated the same according to AAA…

  • John says:

    Note that the bicycle roadside assistance is only available to those with AAA Plus service (and the premium cost that entails).

  • bongobike says:

    Paul said:
    “BUT, if you DO happen to have AAA, and you DO happen to find yourself stranded out ( spare tubes are bad, ran out of patches, CO2 dead, whatever…) having that as a backup is a nice bonus. ”

    Paul, if you are going out there with bad tubes, no patches and a dead CO2 cartridge (and no pump!?!?), then that is entirely your fault for not being prepared. Remember what I said in my original post: “If you’re not prepared to do this, you shouldn’t be riding in the boonies. ” You should check your spares and equipment thoroughly before you head out on any far-away ride, heck, even an in-town ride! And–this is my personal opinion–DO NOT rely on CO2!!! Carry a pump. A frame pump weighs next to nothing, so weight weenies need not complain. And if you’re fit enough to pump the pedals out there, you’re fit enough to pump your tires.

  • Duane says:

    i live in oregon and i’m disabled. i also have AAA Plus for my pickup. though i generally disagree with the political ambitions of AAA, i can’t expect any organization to flip the switch and see things my way. in my ideal world, things would be far different and happened years ago and i wouldn’t need my pickup. it costs too much in too many ways. but i digress. AAA has overall saved me money (not to mention peace of mind) because of situations i’ve encountered with my vehicles. now that bike service is available, i can venture out to places i’ve avoided because of fear of breaking down. my friends aren’t always available (i recently moved also) nor prepared to adequately transport my windcheetah. i simply can’t repair a flat or repair broken parts or depend on the chance that another rider passing by would help or even capable. i hope this works and competition creates a bike friendlier (political) organization to come onto the scene.

  • John says:

    I would not have anything to do with a Motoring Organisation I do not own a Car anyway. I have been Riding Bicycles all my Life and I had a Brief Sojourn with a Car back in 1984-7.

    However the Idea is a good one Particularly if it is a Bike Organisation who will come and either Fix it or give you a Lift Home. If you are in Suburbia or the City Environs especially if on the Weekdays or Saturday then there will be Loads of Bike Shops to Choose from to Fix your Tyres or Bike. If on Sundays then not many Bike Shops will be open. It is a good Idea if out in the Wilds of the Countryside many Miles from Home to have some Money with you in Order to get a Room for the Night in a Guest House if you cannot Fix your Bike,then Worry about getting the Bike Repaired in the Morning.

    For Long Distance Cycling make sure the Bike you have is easy to take Apart for Fixing. Some Bikes have Peculiar Gearing, and the Parts are not easy to take off.
    A simple Strong Reliable uncomplicated Bicycle that you know you can take the Wheels and Tyres off very easy is best. Try and get to know your Bike as much as possible.

    I have several Bikes,one is the Dutch Bike,one is the Brompton, the other one is the Raleigh which I take on Trips around the Country because it is more easy to Fix on the side of the Road and it is light and Fast.

    But if I could not Fix it and it got to Dark to see Properly I would either Walk or Skoot along on the Bike to the next Town or Village and Book in to a Guest House for the Night. Always have enough Money with you for Emergencies. Those Mobile Phones/Cell Phones are Great if you are Stuck out in the Country. Dublin Ireland

  • Scott says:

    bongobike said:
    “If you’re not prepared to do this, you shouldn’t be riding in the boonies. ”

    This is exactly the sort of attitude that keeps many people away from biking. One does not need to be an auto mechanic to drive a car, although there are certainly motorheads who feel differently. And one should not need to be a bike mechanic to ride a bike.
    I agree that any rider should be able to do basic repairs, but expecting all riders to carry the necessary tools all the time is unrealistic for urban cyclists. If I go to the movies or out to a restaurant or club, I can’t leave anything on the bike to be stolen & I’m not carrying a tool bag around with me all night, either. I do keep tools at work & at home, and carry them on strictly recreational rides, but most of my riding is transportation, not recreation.

    My point is that anything extra required of a bicyclist over a driver decreases the odds of cycling, and a negative attitute towards beginners has the same effect. I do think all bikes sold should come with a free hands-on bike repair course & repair kit.

  • John says:

    The Tools do not take up much Space,A Multi Tool Kit consisting of Three Allen Keys,Phillips Special, Chain Thingymagig, Box Spanner Depending on your Bike and a Puncture Kit, Tyre Levers in Plastic or Metal, Perhaps one or Better Still if on the Long Haul Two Inner Tubes.

    I prefer the Old Fashioned Conventional Pumps with a Tube of about 6 Inches to Screw into the Valve with a Presta and Schwader Nozzles instead of the ones you just Press the Pump against the Valve without a Tube. I always find the Latter to awkward to use. I have both but the Old Fashioned style I like better. I always bring at Least one Saddle Bag or a Brooks Glenbrook Bag with me . It is Handy if you want to bring Food with you or if you decide to Buy something you see in your Travels or if you wish to bring a Jacket or Cardigan with you, it is no Hardship. Dublin Ireland 12.15am GMT

  • bongobike says:

    Scott said:
    “And one should not need to be a bike mechanic to ride a bike.”

    Scott, I don’t think that the ability to fix a flat on the road, adjust a few screws and nuts, or drive a pin in and out of a chain makes anyone a mechanic. The comparison to cars is not valid. The fact is that bike tires are much thinner and prone to flats than car tires. (However, I do expect people to know how to change a tire on a car too, and that doesn’t make you a car mechanic either.)

  • Adrienne says:

    I, for one, have a very hard time changing a tire because of some rather inconvenient injuries that make my hands a bit weak. I am able to ride, but even that can be a challenge, sometimes. It is becoming more and more popular and possible for people with various levels of disability to ride bikes, and sometimes, those disabilities require support. Having road side assistance is very attractive to me and is something I would use if available and needed.

    If AAA is not palatable to some, this sounds like a business opportunity.

  • Cullen says:

    One of the things I’ve always loved about cycling is it’s D.i.Y. (do-it-yourself) nature. If you’re worried about those rare flats, just carry a small bike pump and extra tubes.

    As a road cyclist, I never worry about a tacoed wheel. Is this something mountain bicyclists worry about? If so, I don’t know if Bike AAA would be willing to make the trek where the mountain biker would be at the time.

  • Paul says:

    Bongo – fwiw, I do carry a pump with me, I was just trying to create some sort of “what if” scenario where to those of us who live in both worlds – bikes and cars – and have it, it could be a handy thing.

    I’ve had friends who went out with all their gear checked, and after 2-3 flats, called it a day anyway. :)

    Give your cash where it best makes sense to you though, by all means.

 
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