It's a great comfort to know that when your car breaks down you can call for help.
Back in the 1920s, AAA maintained a fleet of motorcycles ready to render roadside help. Today, a hint of the past roars back on a Harley-Davidson when Glenn Sgarlato of Dick’s Automotive Transport in Campbell, Calif., responds to a call.
Q Where did the idea to use a bike come from?
A Dave Bailey, our regional manager, urged his shops to go green with new vehicles. We got the Harley in June ’09. It gets 40 to 45 miles per gallon and it lets us serve our members in places where traffic comes to a standstill and no truck could get through.
Q Can you tow cars with it?
A No, but we throw a lot of equipment on it, including a small floor jack that can lift up to a ton and a half. I use the bike for flats, lockouts, dead batteries, and any other “can’t start” calls. It’s really neat rolling up and seeing the big smiles on people’s faces—and then having all the tools and equipment to get the job done.
Q Do the members you meet want rides?
A Some do, but the passenger seat is taken up by a very large jump-start pack that could even start a big rig. Everyone wants a picture, though, and I encourage that.
Q Do you ride motorcycles for fun, too?
A Yes, I have my own Harley at home. And we enjoy using the shop’s Harley for public service—highway patrol open houses, for example, and especially the AAA Christmas toy run.
Photography by Norman Pogson
This article was first published in November 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.