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Jun 16, 2017

New tandem headset system

Recently my very ancient review on the Tandem Club of America website brought me in touch with a blind tandemist from the Amsterdam area. Richard was hell-bent on finding a great solution as he has many “pilots” who don’t hear well. After exploring the Wiwi from Korea which looked promising but they were impossible to communicate with and had no refunds and another system that was $1000+ designed for surgeons, we settled on giving the Arbiter a try. They’re designed for, and widely used by, referees and sold in the USA with a brief return policy. They’re not inexpensive, about $500 for a pair with headsets (use the $25 coupon code you get when you subscribe). We decided given that our old Simultalk from Eartec was needing repair and they’re not making it anymore and we were tired of the wires of our very old Tandem-Com (note they do offer a wireless system but it’s using Eartec’s Simultalk) that it was worth trying the Arbiter since we’d have a narrow 3-day return window.

We rode about 55 miles yesterday with our new Arbiter system. Here’s a summary of the pros and cons. Bottom line, we’re keeping it.

Pros:

  • small & light weight
  • well-made and sturdy construction
  • excellent headset, can easily switch ears as needed
  • no interference experienced between us or with others around us
  • charged quickly in wall
  • wind did not seem to be an issue
  • Full Duplex Communication System (No Push-To-Talk required)
  • Waterproof (IP65)
  • lasted way longer than any other device we’ve tried which is a HUGE plus for us (advertised as 10+ Hours of battery Life)
  • Charged in about 2 hours (advertised as a charging Time: 3 Hours)
  • We could talk when pretty far apart (2 floors in our building still worked without line-of-site, and when it finally didn’t work and I returned to range it reconnected automatically) advertised up to 800-meter line-of-sight range
  • 1 Year Warranty

Cons:

  • the antennae and headsets plug protrude from opposite ends of the device. Not a huge problem but slightly awkward for putting in a jersey pocket
  • the headset cord is short….just long enough to go under the arm to the back pocket. Would be too short to use these headsets in a wired device as stoker couldn’t stand if connected to captain by wires. They are reportedly working on making it longer and it’s not an issue now.
  • sound quality was not as high fidelity as I’d like. Several times Spencer sounded garbled enough that I had to have him repeat. This was close to a deal-breaker for me but since Spencer’s hearing is not that great he didn’t notice. And I like so much about it we both think it’ll be OK. Their rep suggested we re-pair when away from any other blue-tooth to see if that helped. They were surprised as they’re known for good sound quality.
  • Bluetooth pairing has to occur and took a while to figure out. Then turning it on each time is a multi-step process which we’re still learning but not a big deal. The documentation for this is not great. But once you have it you never need it again.
  • You have to reestablish the necessary volume setting each time since it’s a +/- system and not a dial that can be left at the setting.

I’ll report back after we ride STP with it next month. That’s back-to-back centuries. We’ll need to charge overnight but theoretically they should hold up each day without issue.

May 8, 2017

Tandem Headset Review

This article originally appeared in the printed Doubletalk Magazine in 2012 and then migrated to the Tandem Club’s website. We’ve been riding tandem since 1999. My Captain has a hereditary hearing loss so having some assisted listening device has been essential to our happiness riding together. In case you’ve never run into a tandem headset, […]

Aug 6, 2016

Community mosaic completed

Last March, 2015 we posted about Sheila winning an AARP Essay Contest and that we were splitting the proceeds between our Banff-Jasper bike tour and creating a mosaic for our community’s entry. The completed mosaic went up a few weeks ago and is all we hoped it to be. It makes a stunning impression as […]

Aug 7, 2016

Community is more than the building

It’s been a long six years and a particularly long last six months but we’ve finally arrived. Persistence pays off! We moved into CHUC (Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing) on June 14, 2016. Backstory Spencer and I have long been interested in community and in cohousing. We explored it with our friends Larry & Karin in […]

Mar 1, 2015

AARP Essay Contest

Last summer Sheila happened upon an AARP photo contest about your best vacation ever. She entered the photo of us holding up the tandem at the end of our cross country journey (shown right) and forgot about it. In the fall she was sent a $100 gift card. Not bad. Encouraged by success, when she […]

Feb 14, 2013

1 Billion Rising

Qdoba

Today was Valentine’s Day. We really rolled back the clock on this one. After a day of fussing with computers, we headed to the NE YMCA (now called the University YMCA) where Sheila and I met just over 30 years ago.  A little trip down memory lane. We went to attend a world-wide event – […]

Oct 11, 2001

S2 Joint Stuff

You could call this our hodge-podge area. Here you’ll find the details of our lives that aren’t covered in the Sheila, Spencer or S2Cycle sections. Right now it covers: our bio-diesel car, our Food Choices, including some new developments,  Spirituality, our relationship review and our cats including Morrie’s toilet training and diabetes. We’ve added a […]

Sep 30, 2012

Thanks

…for making the S2 Milestones Celebration wonderful We’ve setup a Flickr slideshow of the photos we’ve collected. If you have any to add please email them and we’ll add them. Video of Ceremony (13 minutes) If you click this link the video will come up in another window. Or you can simply read the ceremony […]

Jul 4, 2001

Relationship Review

Every year we set aside time between Christmas and New Year’s to do what we call our relationship review. It’s a structured set of questions which we discuss and journal. Then we set both personal and relationship goals for the coming year and beyond. We’ve been doing this process since before we were married. If […]

Dec 30, 1989

Food Choices

Our food choices have shaped our lives dramatically for more than a decade. In 1990 we heard John Robbins speak at the University of Washington. We immediately read his book Diet for a New America and gave up meat, dairy, and eggs on the basis of the environmental destruction those industries cause. We founded the […]