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CAA Introduces “Bike Assist” for Ontario Cyclists

CAA Bike Assist

This is by far the best idea I’ve heard in a long time… and was actually searching the CAA site a few months ago looking for something like this.

caa-bike-assist-logoThe Canadian Automobile Association of South Central Ontario is starting a service called “Bike Assist“, which provides assistance to CAA members when they are out on their bikes:

As Ontarians make a shift towards a greener lifestyle and with more and more commuters using their bikes as their main vehicle for transportation during the summer months, we’re introducing CAA Bike Assist, roadside assistance for your bike. If you run into a problem that cannot be fixed on the spot, CAA will tow you and your bike to wherever* you need to go. It’s available as part of your membership 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Members will not have to pay extra to be eligible for Bike Assist as it will now be a new permanent benefit for existing Members!

This is obviously excellent for CAA members who also bike (remember, not all cyclists are crazy cycling extremists – I’d say most cyclists in Toronto are also drivers, pedestrians and transit users), but also people who don’t own cars.

The basic CAA membership will run you $72 per year, or $6 per month.  With that, you get 24/7 roadside assistance and up to 4 “tows” of up to 10 km.

If you do a lot of touring and what extra kilometres, $113 per year with CAA Plus gets you 4 “tows” of up to 200 km.

What do you think?  Would you use this service?

  • Melody

    My insurance: TTC token in wallet when in the city, repair kit in bag for longer trips.

  • Agreed with Melody. Besides, why should I support the same group that has been fighting against bike lanes (http://www.ibiketo.ca/blog/2010/04/20/torontos-first-separated-bike-lane-approved-committee)?

  • Totally agree with Melody… here in the city I always have a couple tokens rattling around in my panniers.

    I’m not saying the CAA are saints… but they are at least realizing that a lot of their members bike as well as drive, and are offering services (at no extra charge, if one already has a membership) to reflect that.

    One thing that has kept me from going on long rides in the country has been the fear of something breaking and not having any back-up way to get back to the city.

  • Every bike messenger company in town should buy membership for their bike messengers – courier calls in a problem to dispatch, dispatch sends out the CAA – bike back on the road quickly; cheap too.

    “The basic CAA membership will run you $72 per year, or $6 per month. With that, you get 24/7 roadside assistance and up to 4 “tows” of up to 10 km.”

  • lock

    “…Every bike messenger company in town should buy membership…”

    I’ll suggest this would be tax deductible as well
    ;->
    l0ck

  • Indeed. Good point.

  • Tugg

    I think it’s a good idea. True, while commuting around the city – $3 for the TTC isn’t an issue, and is probably the preferred option. But for people that are doing longer rides, or don’t live in a city that has a strong transit system – this is a great service.

    I only know pretty basic bike maintenance (fix a flat, and that’s about it) – and having something like CAA for bikes would help me feel a bit more confident on longer bike rides that take me outside of city centers.

    Still trying to improve my bike-fixing skills and going to probably take a few workshops this summer, but if you end up with some serious bike-damage and you are 50km away from the nearest transit-stop, this would be a life saver.

  • Interesting that one part of the CAA – representing auto drivers by politically supporting fewer bike lanes – is working at cross purposes to another section of the company which is thinking outside that box.

    Could this be a reflection of the growing number of commuters who – finding the stress and cost too high on the one hand and on the other beginning to appreciate the value of cycling; physically, mentally and existentially – starting to have an impact in the market place?

    Hopefully,
    Michael Holloway

  • It’s the “South Central Ontario” part of the CAA… a very urban and suburban area… and I’m sure the CAA has most likely received inquiries from members about Bike services. :)

  • Sharkford

    A fine service for existing CAA members who take their never-maintained walmart bike off the garage wall on the first day of summer, car-carry it to a park parking lot, and get a mile down the road before the chain falls off. But for $72 you could have a bike tuned up at a real bike shop and still have enough for an occasional van-taxi ride home, and skip CAA’s lobbying for highways, highways and more highways.

  • Thanks for that ray of sunshine, Sharkford.

    Actually, for the basic $72 membership, you get 4 “tows”:

    Similar to your Roadside Assistance, Basic Members receive four tows up to 10 km, Plus Members receive four tows up to 200 km, and Premier Members receive one 320 km and four 200 km towing services. Bike assistance counts as one of your allotted roadside calls during your membership year. Service will be provided to cyclists where there is permitted vehicle access.

  • Lisa in Toronto

    I have never had a driver’s licence, and so have never belonged to the CAA.
    I don’t think I would join the CAA just for this service, as I really do not agree with their pro-car lobbying efforts.
    I would recommend that all CAA members try to remember to use the free service though! You could think of it as pre-paid.

  • Everyone should remember that CAA stands for “Canadian Automobile Association”. They are obviously going to promote cars over other modes of transportation. If everyone gave up their cars, the CAA would have no reason to exist.

    I think their “Bike Assist” program is a good step in the right direction. It’s obviously not practical for city cyclists who have a good transit system at their disposal… but for drivers who are worried about their bicycles breaking down when they are out for a ride, having this program in place will give them more peace of mind and give them more incentive to “get out there” on two wheels. :)


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