Walkie Talkies can make hills safer, here is a quick run down of how to get the most out of your sessions.
Some roads are only possible to skate with walkie talkies, others are enhanced and a few are worse. Knowing when and how to use walkie talkies can change the quality and safety of your session, so we’re going to teach you a few tricks that’ll help you make the most of any spot.
You can buy a set of walkie talkies for ~£60. Avoid the cheapest ones, but don’t break the bank. The ones with earpieces are the best value for money. Look for a small handset with a solid belt-clip and impact protection, remember you will be skating with it. Waterproof models often have poor sound/microphone quality and the range is always dependant on the local terrain so don’t stress over the power output numbers. Most brands are use the same channel frequencies so you can mix and match handsets. Battery life is key.
When to use: On short hills with low traffic volume.
NOTE: Don’t use this system if the hill has side-roads, unless controlled by a spotter.
When to use: On medium length or narrow hills with low traffic volume. Same system as above, but the bottom of the road is blocked by a car or impassable barrier. This is much safer, but can annoy other road users and draw police attention.
When to use: On long roads with live, oncoming traffic. Recommended for skilled riders and drivers only.
NOTE: The lead car must keep at least 500m ahead of riders at all times. If less than 500m ahead the communication and reaction times are reduced for the riders. If the car is more than 1km ahead of riders, the radio signal may be lost. The most important thing is to establish a good routine as a driving/skating team and develop a trust and ‘feel’ for the way this system operates.