BCAA's roadside assistance for bikes extended to all cyclists during June

BCAA offers tips to get your bike road-ready and a helping hand in case of a breakdown

BURNABY, BC, June 1 /CNW/ - Although "automobile" is BCAA's "middle name", the association extends the same peace of mind provided by its reliable Road Assist service to members commuting by bicycle. And, during Bike Month in June, BCAA is offering "Bike Assist" to all cyclists - member or not - in case they experience a problem during their ride.

From June 1-30, cyclists who've experienced a mechanical breakdown can contact BCAA Road Assist service - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - to receive help. And, if their bike is beyond repair at roadside, the BCAA technician will transport the cyclist and their bike a maximum of five kilometres to their destination or a nearby bike repair shop.

BCAA is the first Automobile Association in North America to provide roadside assistance for members choosing pedal power over motor power.

According to Ken Cousin, BCAA's associate vice president of Road Assist, many bicycle breakdowns occur after bikes are taken out of winter storage and put on the road without receiving an adequate tune up.

"It's the same as having a car sit in a garage for a long period," explains Cousin. "Before you can ride off you need to check tires and other mechanical parts to ensure the vehicle is working properly and is safe."

"Bicycle parts such as tires, chains and brakes need to be inspected, tuned up and replaced to ensure the bike is sound for the road. Good maintenance will not only help cyclists avoid mechanical breakdowns, they'll get more mileage for the amount of physical energy they expend to 'fuel' their ride."

Since Bike Assist was made a permanent membership benefit last year, BCAA has received over 235 calls from cyclists. "Our service technicians have attended to a variety of bicycle breakdowns," says Cousin, adding: "Flat tires and problems with bike chains are the most common issues cyclists face."

This is the fifth year BCAA has offered bicycle roadside assistance to all B.C. cyclists during Bike Month. The organization hopes more people will be encouraged to try cycling knowing there's help available in case of a breakdown.

How to get assistance

Cyclists needing help can call BCAA Road Assist at 604-293-2222 (Lower Mainland), 1-800-222-4357 (rest of B.C.) or *222 by cell phone anywhere in B.C. For more information on BCAA "Bike Assist" or road safety tips for cyclists and motorists, visit www.bcaa.com/bikeassist or email bikeassist@bcaa.com.

    Criteria for BCAA "Bike Assist" from June 1-30

    -  The cyclist must have experienced a mechanical breakdown, which
       includes any issue that makes the bike inoperable during a rider's
       commute, such as a broken chain or flat tire. (No assistance will be
       provided to cyclists looking to avoid challenging terrain or inclement

    -  Manual (non-motorized) bicycles are eligible for Bike Assist service;

    -  If the repair cannot be made at the site of the breakdown, the service
       technician will transport the cyclist and their bicycle a maximum of
       five kilometres to their destination or a bike repair shop;

    -  One cyclist can be accommodated at a time.

    BCAA offers tips to get your bike road-ready

    1. Use an air pressure gauge and check the tire pressure before every
       ride. Pump air into the tires until you reach the recommended tire
       pressure which is usually imprinted on the tire's sidewall. Don't
       exceed the maximum tire pressure listed.

    2. Inspect tires for damage and wear. Nails, scuffs and other trauma can
       cause a tire blowout. Check tire rims for dents or kinks in the
       spokes. Lift the front end of your bike and spin the wheel to make
       sure there's no wobble. Do the same for the rear wheel.

    3. Inspect the chain to ensure it's clean and free of kinks. Keep the
       chain properly lubricated using bicycle chain oil. Make sure there are
       no rusty links which can wear out over time and cause the chain to

    4. Check the thickness of the brake pads and the condition of the brake
       cables. Most pads have little grooves notched into them which indicate
       when the pad should be replaced. If all the grooves are gone - install
       new brake pads. If either brake cable is stiff or frayed avoid riding
       and change the cable.

    5. Test front and rear chain derailers. Put your bike on a stand or flip
       the bike upside down. Use one hand to turn the pedal and with your
       other hand, switch through all the gears to make sure you can move
       through them smoothly.

About BCAA

BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership, automotive, travel and insurance professionals. With over 793,000 members and $130 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C. and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. For the past three years, BCAA was named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information: For further information: or to request an interview or photos please contact Niela Melanio, BCAA Public Affairs Advisor, Tel: (604) 268-5342 (9am to 5pm), Cell: (778) 228-8859 (anytime), Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com; Ken Cousin, BCAA Associate VP, Road Assist, Tel: (604) 293-2132 (9am to 5 pm), Cell: (604) 417-1646, Email: ken.cousin@bcaa.com

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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