A lot of my cycling is done alone and while training for the Ride London event I've been getting ever further away from home. In my neck of the woods, I can also end up quite a long way from civilisation. Great for spotting buzzards and listening to skylarks, not so good if I get into trouble.
I carry a basic puncture repair kit but I do still struggle to get tight-fitting tyres back onto the wheel. Hitherto I have always been fortunate to attract the attention of a good Samaritan. Sometimes on four wheels, usually on two, they have volunteered stronger fingers and faster wheel-changing abilities to get me back on the road.
But what if nobody passes or if I crash off my bike and damage it beyond repair even by the strongest fingers?
For those times, I have roadside breakdown cover for me and my bicycle.
It surprises me how many cyclists don't know that this kind of peace of mind cover is available to us. They wouldn't go out in their cars without cover from one of the roadside rescue firms but they make themselves vulnerable every time they go out on their bikes.
Having looked around, the cover that best met my needs was provided by ETA www.eta.co.uk
ETA's cycle breakdown cover operates 24 hours a day in Britain and promises to respond within 39 minutes. Should the worst happen, you and your bike will be safely transported to the nearest cycle shop, railway station, overnight accommodation or home within 25 miles. The policy includes punctures and even covers you for cycling holidays in Europe for up to 90 days.
I have had my cover for a year and haven't had to call for help in that time. However the helpline number is stored under Cycle Rescue in the contacts of my phone along with my membership number. That's all I'll need if I'm stranded miles from home and the peace of mind is well worth £18 per year. Frankly, it is worth that just to stop my husband fretting if he is working away from home and knows I'm out riding alone.
Breakdown cover is provided free for people who insure their cycles with ETA. I have just insured my new bike with them for the first time and received a credit for the unused portion of the breakdown premium I had previously paid.