Roadside Assistance for Your Cargo Bike

Needing to bail out on a bike ride to head to the repair shop is a real joy kill on any normal day. Throw a 60lb bike loaded up with all the cargo biking bells and whistles and you’ve got a real misery stew brewing. If you’re lucky, you have a partner or friend with the skills or vehicle to usher you to the nearest shop. But some days, even a good back up plan can go wrong and you need to call in a pro. If you are finding yourself down on your luck and needing a ride to the bike shop for repairs, this is where bicycle roadside assistance can help. 

Before we get into the details about bicycle roadside assistance, we are going to take a sec to state the obvious. Even if you pay for roadside assistance, having it and not needing it will – in most cases – generate far less hassle. For this reason, we always recommend that you…

Ride prepared. 

We know you know. But just as a little refresher, here are the most likely easy-ish to fix issues you might encounter on a ride that, if you aren’t prepared with the proper tools and know how, might lead to a roadside service call.

Needed tools For more info:
Flat tire – Replacement inner tube
OR patch kit
– Tire levers
– Tire pump
All About Tires and Tubes

Park Tool: How to remove and install
a bicycle tube and tire

Broken chain or stuck link – Chain tool
– Compatible quick links
Park Tool: How to fix a broken bicycle chain
Dead eBike battery – Carry your battery charger with you

No matter how prepared you ride, there will be those times when you just need to or want to call in help. That’s where roadside assistance can swoop in to save the day! 

When it comes to roadside assistance programs, a crucial fact to point out off the bat is:

You need to already be signed up to use the service.


Most, if not all, roadside assistance programs have a grace period after you sign up meaning the benefits don’t kick in until a few days after the policy starts. This is to prevent folks from signing up for the service only in their moment of need. 

So, if you ever think you might need bicycle roadside service, the best time to sign up was 3 days ago. But since we haven’t yet mastered the science of time travel, signing up today is your next best bet. 

What are the options for bicycle roadside assistance?

As of the time this article was written, the best options we are aware of are:

Benefits
AAA
Price
: Ranging from $70 (Basic) to $169 (Premium) for a two adult household
Bicycle only plans available?: No. Auto service is required but bicycle service comes free with the auto membership.
Service radius: 5 mi. – 200 mi. depending on membership level.
Trips allowed: 4 total trips (bicycle and / or auto) per membership year.
Other travel discounts available: Yes.
Better World Club Price: $39.95 for single person.
Bike only plans available?: Yes.
Services radius: 30 miles.
Trips allowed: 2 trips per membership year. 
Other travel discounts: Yes.

Better World Club (BWC) also has a more detailed chart comparing their services with AAA here. While this chart focuses on their auto service (and will likely be biased since it comes from one of the providers), it gives some good comparisons on a company level. For example, that BWC gives 1% to the environment. The BWC auto plans can have bicycle roadside service added for an additional $17/year. 

Another possible option for service in your area: a local bike shop. Your local bike shop might have a service vehicle for transportation or they might be able to come to you to help fix issues on the road. It’s best to research the options in your area before hand that way if the time comes, you will know who to call. 

There is also mention of roadside assistance on the Spoke Bicycle Insurance website but when we tried to do some digging, we couldn’t find much info. 

What CAN bicycle roadside assistance help me with?

In a nutshell, bicycle roadside assistance can essentially transport you to a bike shop for a repair. This is assuming where you are located can be reached by their trucks, that your bike has broken or become inoperable in some way, that it is within the travel radius of the truck (there are limits depending on the service), and that you have service trips remaining (most services some with a set number of trips per year). 

What CAN’T bicycle roadside assistance help me with?

What you can’t depend on most bicycle roadside assistance services to do is anything outside of taking you and your bike to a repair shop. Most won’t: fix a flat tire; fix something broken on your bike; be able to transport you and your kids (their trucks might not be able to safely transport children requiring car child seats); help you if the road you are on is deemed inaccessible to their trucks; pick you up because you are tired or cannot finish the ride.

What should I look for when shopping around for bicycle roadside assistance?

– What is the cost?
– Is the service available in your area?
– How many trips to the bike shop are covered?
– How far will a repair truck travel to come get you?

In summary…

There are a few roadside issues you can plan for that can hopefully limit your need to make a roadside assistance call. It’s best to think of bicycle roadside assistance as the solution to a worst-case scenario. The ways in which bicycle roadside assistance can help you are limited – they can essentially just transport you and your bike to the bike shop – and their available help might even be more limited if you are traveling with kids and their trucks can’t accommodate your children to safely ride in the vehicle. Bicycle roadside assistance can definitely bring your peace of mind since in the worst-case scenario, getting our bike to the bike shop can be a lifesaver.