Fixing your car’s flat is as easy as calling a tow service. But if it’s your bike that’s busted, it can be a bit harder to get back on the road. Enter bicycle roadside assistance programs. The increasingly popular clubs function like auto clubs such as AAA—call a toll-free number, provide your member number and location, and a dispatcher sends someone to drive you and your bike home or to a repair shop.
Better World Club, the first and largest national organization to offer roadside assistance for cyclists and drivers, was founded in 2002. The organization donates 1 percent of its revenue to environmental advocacy groups like the Sierra Club Foundation and offers a 15 percent discount to new members with hybrid or biodiesel vehicles. Packages start at $39.95 per year or can be added on to auto packages for $15 a year. Erik Nelson, the club’s vice president of activism, says that 15 percent of its 20,000 members now take part in the bike program.
And Better World Club is not alone. Other bike repair programs are cropping up across North America: Currently, League of American Bicyclists, the British Columbia Automobile Association in Canada, and several repair shops also offer bicycle roadside assistance. “Most of the members who are signed up for bicycle roadside assistance are concerned about long-distance cycling,” Nelson explains. “It’s not a service that everyone needs, but for those who do need it, it’s extremely valuable.”
Story by Jodi Helmer. This article originally appeared in Plenty in February 2008. This story was added to MNN.com.