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Communicating Device for Tours With Other Riders?

Old 08-25-14, 06:00 PM
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Communicating Device for Tours With Other Riders?

Those of you who ride in groups or with one other person: Has anyone put out an affordable ($50 or less) two-way intercom with all the specifics that make it "perfect" for bicyclists?

I know some weisenheimer is going to say something like "Yeah, it's called a cell phone." But I mean something simple, like a walkie-talkie, that clips onto a helmet and can provide basic, clear communication between cyclists that are, say, 50 feet apart at the most.

Blue Tooth is probably too expensiveand something rechargeable will probably be too heavy. How about something that runs on AA or AAA batteries?

Last edited by Papa Tom; 08-25-14 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 08-25-14, 10:35 PM
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50 feet? Just yell...
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Old 08-25-14, 10:59 PM
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There are intercoms for tandem riders so they can hear each other better over wind noise. Not sure of the range, but some types should work for 50'. The tandem team on our last club ride was talking to each other at a stop when the stoker went inside a store while the captain stayed outside with the bike.

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Old 08-26-14, 04:32 AM
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Search for motorycle intercom finds names like Nady and Chatterbox that may fill the need for $50 - $100.
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Old 08-26-14, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
50 feet? Just yell...

Heh. That's the first thing that came to mind. The second one was to simply catch up or slow down. If you are never more than 50' apart all one person needs to do is soft pedal for a short period and you will be back together.
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Old 08-26-14, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by ak08820
Search for motorycle intercom finds names like Nady and Chatterbox that may fill the need for $50 - $100.
Sena and Cardo are the names to look for in motorcycle communications systems. Everything else is mostly junk, in my experience. Mounting a system designed for a motorcycle on a bicycle helmet may be challenging, however.

If you have to have a communication system, you should probably call the directeur sportif of your favorite Tour de France team and ask what hardware they're using. Either that or google for "bicycle radio headset"...
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Old 08-26-14, 09:27 AM
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walkie-talkies . have to be left on to work .. marine ones are yellow.. A friend has some
anticipating getting separated, we brought them to big protest marches in the big city [against what else.. another War]
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Old 08-26-14, 10:12 AM
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Well I am going to suggest using a smartphone. There are apps that let you talk with a group of people just like walkie talkies and if you use an earpiece and microphone it's almost hands free. I see an opening for it as part of a larger social media app for tourers. I can see people using an app that tracks the position of tourers so you can see where others are on a route, includes some communication function between friends, and has a facebookish aspect too. It would be a great way to pass on information. I'm not sure I'd use it because being alone is part of why I tour, but more gregarious tourers might like it.
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Old 08-26-14, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
Well I am going to suggest using a smartphone. There are apps that let you talk with a group of people just like walkie talkies and if you use an earpiece and microphone it's almost hands free. I see an opening for it as part of a larger social media app for tourers. I can see people using an app that tracks the position of tourers so you can see where others are on a route, includes some communication function between friends, and has a facebookish aspect too. It would be a great way to pass on information. I'm not sure I'd use it because being alone is part of why I tour, but more gregarious tourers might like it.
Waze for cyclists!
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Old 08-26-14, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by lurch0038
Waze for cyclists!
Exactly, but maybe with a bit more of an emphasis in the social bit as many touring cyclists will want to meet up with other tourers at the end of the day. It would be a good place to swap info on
where to camp, restaurants, road conditions etc.
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Old 08-26-14, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
Well I am going to suggest using a smartphone. There are apps that let you talk with a group of people just like walkie talkies and if you use an earpiece and microphone it's almost hands free. I see an opening for it as part of a larger social media app for tourers. I can see people using an app that tracks the position of tourers so you can see where others are on a route, includes some communication function between friends, and has a facebookish aspect too. It would be a great way to pass on information. I'm not sure I'd use it because being alone is part of why I tour, but more gregarious tourers might like it.
Brilliant idea! IMO that would be especially great for organized rides e.g. I could see it being incredibly useful and popular for something like RAGBRAI. Like you though, I don't think I'd want to use it since I also like the solitude of riding my own ride.
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Old 08-26-14, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
Exactly, but maybe with a bit more of an emphasis in the social bit as many touring cyclists will want to meet up with other tourers at the end of the day. It would be a good place to swap info on
where to camp, restaurants, road conditions etc.
Good idea but waze works because of the high number of cars on the road but how many cyclists do you see while riding. Maybe it will work around the larger trails....
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Old 08-26-14, 11:29 AM
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Yelling might only work for 30 feet with the wind in your ears. If you are a couple hundred feet apart, you might still be able to hear a whistle to tell the leader to slow down to chat. While kayaking I have used whistles for maybe a quarter mile, but that was in pretty quiet conditions.
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Old 08-26-14, 11:37 AM
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Two choices come immediately to mind:
-Become an Amateur Radio Operator. Then you can have small handhelds with headsets and keep in touch with each other as well as local folks. Plus, there is a GPS system that allows you to know exactly where you and everyone else is. Very useful in urban and mountainous areas. Licensing is fairly easy if you can read. Has growth possibilities for community service and long range communication at a later time.
-FRS radios. Cheap, short range but no license required.
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Old 08-26-14, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by lurch0038
Waze for cyclists!
I see road hazards, glass or nails, and think wave would be great. then again, maybe I should just stop and clear the debris?
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Old 08-26-14, 01:21 PM
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I second the idea of walkie talkies. Their batteries last a long time and don't require cell towers to work.
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Old 08-26-14, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by lurch0038
Good idea but waze works because of the high number of cars on the road but how many cyclists do you see while riding. Maybe it will work around the larger trails....
Yes I was thinking that such an app would be great on well ridden routes. If cyclists could sign up prior to doing rides like the Northern Tier they could see where other people were riding and maybe arrange meet ups and get info about the road ahead. In fact why not just use Waze.
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Old 08-26-14, 03:53 PM
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if most people just stop and think for about a second, they'll find that 99% of what they talk will be dismissed, no doubt like this post , as intrusive, pointless and irrelevant.

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Old 08-26-14, 04:13 PM
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I guess I should have provided some more details in my original post. I want a simple system to communicate with my wife when we are out riding together. As TouristInMSN mentioned, at even 10-15 feet, the wind can totally mask the sound of the other rider's voice, so shouting is not practical. Also, this is not for typical tour group instructions like "Left!" or "STOP!" My wife is a fairly inexperienced cyclist, and I need to constantly guide her around tricky intersections and obstacles in the road. Sometimes, the time it takes for her to yell "What?" and for me to repeat myself can be the difference between safety and disaster.

I apologize if anyone thinks my question is "intrusive" or "pointless." I participate in many discussions on the Northeast and Commuting forums, but this question seemed like one best put to touring cyclists. Anyway, so far the frs radio suggestion seems to make the most sense, and I already own two of those. I can get headsets for about five bucks each on e-Bay, so I may give them a try.

Thanks, all.
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Old 08-26-14, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom

I apologize if anyone thinks my question is "intrusive" or "pointless." I participate in many discussions on the Northeast and Commuting forums, but this question seemed like one best put to touring cyclists. Anyway, so far the frs radio suggestion seems to make the most sense, and I already own two of those. I can get headsets for about five bucks each on e-Bay, so I may give them a try.

Thanks, all.
Sounds like a solution, and was a perfectly good question to ask.
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Old 08-26-14, 05:42 PM
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Old 08-26-14, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom
I guess I should have provided some more details in my original post. I want a simple system to communicate with my wife when we are out riding together. As TouristInMSN mentioned, at even 10-15 feet, the wind can totally mask the sound of the other rider's voice, so shouting is not practical. Also, this is not for typical tour group instructions like "Left!" or "STOP!" My wife is a fairly inexperienced cyclist, and I need to constantly guide her around tricky intersections and obstacles in the road. Sometimes, the time it takes for her to yell "What?" and for me to repeat myself can be the difference between safety and disaster.

I apologize if anyone thinks my question is "intrusive" or "pointless." I participate in many discussions on the Northeast and Commuting forums, but this question seemed like one best put to touring cyclists. Anyway, so far the frs radio suggestion seems to make the most sense, and I already own two of those. I can get headsets for about five bucks each on e-Bay, so I may give them a try.

Thanks, all.
No communication is a good excuse not to listen to her for a while. Seriously, you are over thinking it, Millions of people have logged billions of miles and most with no issues. I just wouldn't worry about it, Just have a cell phone should you really get separated.

Even on a multi person tour it is nice to be alone with your thoughts for a little whilw.
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Old 08-26-14, 07:27 PM
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Some of you are missing the point, so I guess I'm not communicating it well. I NEED to speak to my wife during our rides (as much as I'd sometimes rather be alone. That part isn't negotiable and I am not looking to be talked out of it. I started this thread because I thought, by now, there must be some hot new product designed for this purpose that I haven't yet heard about. It seems our old frs radios are still the best option, so that's the avenue I am going to pursue for now.

Thanks for all the input!
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Old 08-27-14, 05:50 AM
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My partner and I routinely speak to each other while riding. We accomplish that by riding close to each other. If one of us gets ahead the other can stop or soft pedal. Your OP mentioned needing only a 50' range. Do the math. You (or she) can close that distance in no time with a simple soft pedal.
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Old 08-27-14, 07:55 AM
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This is probably a common problem when riding with a spouse. For some reason, it's more difficult with a spouse than with a buddy. My wife and I have been riding together for nearly 35 years and we have standing jokes about how poorly we've communicated at times. (She'd ask if we should turn east and I thought she was asking about the cheese.) A radio would be nice, but think of all the laughs you'd miss. Good luck with the headsets.
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