Flashback Friday: The AA does Cycling

Historically, the NZAA was never really a champion for all things cycling, which in itself probably wasn’t that surprising. But over the past decade they have been reviewing that relationship, probably partly due to the fact that many of their members increasingly ride bikes as well. The first real clear sign of that cycling renaissance came in 2012 when their regular magazine took a somewhat different look. This post, originally from Oct 2012, sums up what it featured…

You heard it right: the NZ Automobile Association, the champion of motorists in this country, has just released the latest issue of its Directions magazine, with a bumper crop of articles on cycling. And it’s rather nice…

The Summer 2012 issue of AA Directions

The issue includes a range of articles (many readable online) including:

    • The advantages to everyone of getting more people cycling in our cities
    • Details about the Model Walking & Cycling Communities being developed in Hastings and New Plymouth
    • The merits of using electric bikes (as discussed recently here on our blog)
    • Comedian (and avid cycle nut) Jon Bridges provides some helpful (?) advice about taking up cycling
    • Information about the Frocks on Bikes movement
    • All you need to know about the NZ Cycle Trails around the country
    • Even this issue’s featured “car owner” is actually a very stylish cyclist…
Chelsea Jade Metcalf shows off her “ride” (c/ NZAA)

The highlight for me however was the editorial from AA Chief Exec Brian Gibbons (which unfortunately isn’t on the online version); it’s well worth framing:

AA Directions Editorial (click to view full size)

This mirrors similar interest that the AA has displayed in person lately. For example, recently some national and local AA reps met with members of Spokes Canterbury and the City Council to discuss how cycling could be better provided for in the rebuilt Christchurch. As always, the proof will be in the pudding, so I will be interested to see how these good intentions translate into tangible AA support (e.g. lower speed limits anyone?)…

I could probably raise a few picky quibbles about the Directions articles, e.g. the print-copy has a rather naff flowchart for how to pick the right type of bike (apparently “hybrids” are the same as “city bikes”…). But the heart is in the right place, and it looks absolutely fantastic. Some great marketing to a target demographic. I look forward to more future “cycle-friendly” editions!

P.S: If you prefer getting your cycle-friendly fare from a more sympathetic organisation, I would suggest that you also have a look at the latest Chainlinks magazine from the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN); a nice mix of interesting and inspiring articles.

What is the relationship like these days between the AA and cycling?

2 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The AA does Cycling”

  1. As an active AA member, could I phone for roadside breakdown assistance if I had a bicycle mechanical?

    Would have been very handy when my road bike ate its rear derailleur on Kennedy’s Bush Road last month, or when a punctured tubular on my commute lead to a long walk.

  2. Apparently, yes.

    I had to go in to the AA not long ago, and as part of the whole “Are you a member, do you want to upgrade?” spiel the lady mentioned that *all* the benefits from membership apply even if your vehicle has two wheels and/or no motor.

    I’ve never had to test it, though, so I’m not sure how well they do in practice. Worth a try when you need it?

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