My husband has been a bike enthusiast for the past twenty years or so. He started with mountain biking, expanded into triathlons and adventure races, and eventually he also discovered road cycling. He has a collection of bikes envied by many and goes cycling (either on the road or on the trails) as often as he can.
When the kids were younger, we had one of those double trailers for them that he pulled along while the two of us would go on bike rides around the neighbourhood and on excursions such as day trips to Centre Island in Toronto.
Now that the kids are older, bike riding is still an activity we can all enjoy as a family. While none of us are nearly as adventurous or skilled as my husband on the mountain bike trails, we enjoy family bike rides around town and love to discover new family-friendly routes to ride. We usually bring our bicycles with us up north during our annual summer cottage rental vacations and enjoy exploring the nearby towns and attractions on our bikes.
With all of this bike riding, there comes the potential for flat tires, mechanical breakdowns, accidents or injuries, and getting lost – and we have experienced most of them. That’s why I was happy to discover recently that CAA has many great features for cyclists that help both CAA Members and non-members discover new cycling routes and trails, plan cycling vacations and stay safe while out on their bikes.
CAA Bike Assist
First of all, did you know that CAA Members are able to receive CAA roadside assistance for their bicycles as part of their membership? If you are out cycling and experience a problem, you can call CAA and they will come and try to fix the problem, whether it be a flat tire or some other issue. If they cannot fix your bike on the spot, CAA will transport you and your bike to where you need to go. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. What a great way to get some peace of mind while out cycling alone or with your kids.
Cycling Routes and Drive/Ride vacations
If you want to try some new cycling routes in your area, or are planning a vacation and want to bring your bikes along to explore the area, you can find some great options on the CAASCO website. Maybe you want to throw the bikes in the car to head to out on a day trip in areas like the Toronto Beaches or Prince Edward County, or plan a family vacation in Prince Edward Island or Provence, France (I wish!) Whatever you’re looking for, you can find a variety of cycling routes to meet your needs.
The CAA cycling maps provide route details such as the starting and end points, distance, description of the route and terrain, difficulty level and attractions along the way.
We recently used the CAA Cycling Route maps to try out a new route along the Waterfront Trail east of Toronto. Unfortunately the weather didn’t allow us to complete as much of the route as we had hoped, but we’ll give it another shot again sometime soon.
Bike Assist App
If you have an iPhone or an Android device, you’ll want to download the free Bike Assist App. It has some really useful features that allow you to:
- Access step-by-step video tutorials on bike repairs such as how to change a flat tire or what to do about a broken spoke
- Map your own ride. Enjoy one-touch map view access to begin and track your our route.
- Track your stats. You can track the distance of your rides, your riding time, average speed and calories burned.
- Send an automatic message alerting specified contacts that you have not returned from a ride. GPS coordinates will accompany the message in case you have been injured and unable to make a phone call.
CAA Members can access additional features in the app including:
- Find CAA cycling routes. I love this feature! At a glance it shows how far the routes are from your current location and the length and difficulty level of the routes. If you click on a particular route, you can see more details such as the starting and ending points, a map of the route, a description of the route, surface conditions, route highlights and cautions.
- Create a friends list and share map locations via GPS in case someone becomes separated from your group while out on a ride.
- Quick-dial option to contact a CAA representative for emergency roadside Bike Assist.
I’m so glad we discovered CAA’s support and resources for cycling. I know the Bike Assist gives me some peace of mind when we venture out on family rides, or when my husband is out on a long road ride. We’re looking forward to trying out some more of the CAA cycling routes for future family adventures.
CAASCO is giving away a cycling prize pack worth $1200! To enter, you just have to upload a photo of your favourite bike path, nature trail or cycling route by September 7th. Good luck!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by CAASCO. As always, all opinions are completely my own.
About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)