When I got my license to drive at age 16, my parents handed me a AAA card along with the keys to the car. I vividly remember the first time I locked the keys into the car and had to wait an hour or so for the tow truck to come rescue me. A few of those experiences later and I was sold-for-life on having some kind of roadside assistance plan.
In September 2004 I found myself in Brady, TX with a broken motorcycle and no real plan. AAA (or at least the California version at that particular time) had no coverage for motorcycles, and I was roughly 2000 miles from home. Luckily, my parents lived half a day away, so Mom and Dad graciously wasted a day driving back and forth across Texas to rescue me, and then provided lodging for my Yamaha in their garage until I could drive back and retrieve it.
I was prepared in 2005. The AMA has a roadside assistance program called “Motow” for a little extra money on top of the membership fee. Happily, my mishaps in 2005 were minor or close to home and I never utilized the service. I dropped AMA membership after a year, mainly because I didn’t agree with many of their key lobbying issues (but that’s not a subject for this post).
My motorcycle roadside assistance needs were theoretically covered in 2006 by the plan provided by BMW with purchase of a new motorcycle. I am very thankful that I never needed the plan, because it covers shockingly little…
…which brings me to 2007… and a little matter of running over some lumber in the road. I was 115 miles from home. Through barest luck, my dad was around that weekend and able to drop what he was doing to drive 4 hours round trip to rescue me yet again.
But what if I’d been living on my own? What if Dad hadn’t been available? What if all my other truck-owning friends were out riding and thus unreachable?
For that matter, what if I’d been 1000 miles from home with a broken down bike? It’s happened before and it’s eminently possible that it will happen again, possibly even this summer while I’m out on one of my various tours.
As a frequent long-distance sport-tourer, motorcycle roadside assistance is something that has been on my mind many times in the past few years. I’ve done a lot of research on different plans and options. I’ve read countless discussions on various forums and mailings lists. I *think* I’ve found the best option.
For about $80/year, you get unlimited towing to the nearest “capable service provider”. From every review I’ve read, unlimited really means unlimited. If you’re 200 miles from the nearest real town in the middle of Nevada, well, the towing is covered. No other plan (that I’ve seen at least) provides this level of service. The plan covers all your vehicles, not just the motorcycles.
It also includes a KOA Value Kard for discounted camping at KOAs. Some people may not ever use this, but it’s been something I’ve purchased pretty much every year for the past few years. I stay at KOAs often when on tour.
I’ve been putting it off, but I finally signed up this morning… so whatever happens (knock on wood) my 2007 summer touring season is covered.