Monday, July 13, 2009

No Radios: Tour De France Turns to Twitter Type Text Messages

(Nose Hit News Service:) In a bold move, essentially thumbing thier collective noses at the Tour De France radio ban, tour teams will turn to Twitter style text messaging during Tuesday's 194.5km stage from Limoges to Issoudon and Friday's 200km-long ride from Vittel to Colmar. Many teams are running on-bike GPS already. In anticipation of the radio silent stages units have been equipped with SMS technology and features to send & receive text messages to and from the team car. The technology is in its beta form at the moment. Like Twitter, messages to riders will be limited to 140 characters. The example message pictured above is like a director sportif shouting "Get to the front you slacker. There's a headwind 2k ahead."

“It was tough deciding which language to go with,” according to a team mechanic, "but we all decided on English, the new language of the Tour De France," he quipped. Teams have received a crash course in deciphering text messages. For example instead of a team director shouting “Go go go, there’s been a split in the peloton and Contador’s been caught out, the gap is at 22 seconds,” GPS/text units will display “Go 2 frnt drilit conta d drpd gap 22.” Riders, in the past who’ve turned down the volume of their earpieces to quash the over excited directors screaming in their ears, are excited about the quieter more relaxed technology. The younger riders are super excited about the radio-silent stages. “I text on my bike all the time,” said one white jersey contender.

Here is how some common cycling phrases will appear on bike mounted GPS units and translate to tour text:

Attack now. The summit is in 5 kilometers.

Jens drop back to team car to pick up water bottles

Yellow jersey has been dropped go to front and increase speed to 65 kilometers per hour

Gap to breakaway is at 3 minutes and 31 seconds and increasing.

1 comment:

Mark said...

nice work uncovering the technology. I did see I think several of the riders today wearing bluetooth headsets and ear pieces.:) Lance's was painted in funky colors and logos, cadel was asking others how to use the bluetooth functions of his phone, andy schleck was struggling to push down the buttons and boonen found a new place to store stuff.