Now that training outdoors is allowed again, Africa’s number one road cycling team – ProTouch – is hitting the tar with renewed vigour and determination. And, with incidents involving cyclists increasing over this period, they are more concerned about their safety than ever before.
“Cycling is never easy, and we are always conscious about being safe. We obviously protect ourselves by wearing the right gear but we can’t always protect ourselves against attacks. For this, we’ve chosen the AA who now provide 24/7 personal security to us through AA Armed Response. It’s a truly exceptional product that makes us feel covered, anywhere we ride, and anytime we’re on the road,” says Tony Harding, Team Principal of ProTouch Sports.
AA Armed Response is a location-based security solution, offered by the AA, which provides immediate co-ordinates of the user’s location to a call centre when activated using a smart phone or wireless panic button. More than 160 professional security companies throughout South Africa are contracted on the service and the closest security provider to the user’s location is dispatched to provide armed assistance.
The service costs R35 a month with an optional once-off purchase of R479 for the wireless panic button linked to the app on the smartphone.
“We have ten riders based in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga and they are on the road training between three and five hours a day, often in remote areas away from traffic. They are sometimes at risk and that’s why we needed a solution that properly manages that risk. AA Armed Response was the natural choice,” says Tony.
AA CEO Willem Groenewald says being a cyclist himself, he realises there are many dangers on the road, and that having back-up is essential.
“This solution literally puts a security guard in your pocket, someone you can ‘activate’ at the push of a button. It’s the type of peace-of-mind that allows these riders to focus completely on their training, knowing that should anything happen, they’ll be covered,” says Willem.
Tony says following on a number of reported incidents, where not only cyclists but other outdoor sports enthusiasts were targeted, protecting the ProTouch riders became a priority for him.
“Safety is paramount and whether you’re cycling or running, or even just walking on the street, you need to have some protection. With AA Armed Response our riders can either activate the button on their smartphones or push the separate panic button which we attach to their helmets. Either way, the signal is sent and the response is fast,” he says.
Willem says because users don’t need to own a vehicle, or be members of the AA, AA Armed Response is a good solution for anyone, including parents who want to provide security to their children when they’re not around.
“This is something anyone can use, all you need is an active data signal. Although lockdown restrictions have eased, gyms are still closed so more people are taking to the streets for exercise. If you are one of these people this is the one solution that will provide security if you need it, wherever you are,” he says.