Is that a radio in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
What's in your typical two-way radio: The Midland G-30Just what the DS ordered
From the photos, all we can see is a wire running from a cyclist's jersey to their ear - heck, Lance could have been listening to Nirvana while decimating the opposition up L'Alpe D'Huez in last year's TDF! Unlikely though.
Riders tend to strap the main unit to their chest or underneath their jersey, which is wrapped in plastic (a lá Twin Peaks) to prevent possible corrosion. Measuring 4.75 x 2 x 1 inches (height x width x depth) and weighing in at 6 ounces (168 grams), the Midland G-30 is one of the smallest and lightest out there, so it's not a huge inconvenience for some words of wisdom from your DS.
Most models offer a number of sub-channels or codes to allow access to an "open" (i.e. unused) frequency. To determine the number of available addresses, you multiply the number of main channels (14) by the number of sub-codes (121) - which gives the G-30 a whopping 570 channels to choose from.
The G-30's programmable scan and custom code feature also enables you to easily scan for available frequencies and allows you to set and save a different code for each channel. This is particularly important, as DSs often need to switch between communication with all members of the team and certain individuals.Johan: "Hey Lance, Kristen on line 3"
Critical for any cyclist are the speaker and mic jacks that allow hands-free operation - which tend to be important unless you have a way with words and can convince the peloton to take a coffee break while you take an incoming call from your DS or wife.
Equally important is the range available - the average is around 2-3 miles (3.2-4.8 kilometres) which is about the maximum allowable in the US before you are required to buy a GMRS (General Mobil Radio Service) licence from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which a large number of pro teams opt for.
The G-30 is a GMRS radio and therefore requires this type of licence; however the range is around 5 miles (8 kilometres). In the sport of cycling, the extra cost (around $85 per radio for five years in the US) is well worth the additional coverage.
In regards to frequency, the G-30 utilises the more expensive GMRS frequency that uses a larger power source than UHF (Ultra High Frequency) which provides extended range. Again, this is important due to the size of the race convoy and varying terrain profiles. The G-30 can also operate on the FRS (Family Radio Service) frequency, that, as the name implies, is designed specifically for family and recreational use.
The price - one of these will set you back around $100 (US). However chances are that if your team is employing this type of technology, your ability warrants the cost.