Mirror, mirror

Mirror, mirror, on my bike

Tried some out

What do I like?

As I mentioned in New Wheels, I got a new bike a few months back. It’s a great bike, I’m having a lot of fun riding it and am really appreciating the upgrade. Like most bikes, it didn’t come with any accessories, so I’ve added a bell Knock, knock, who’s there? Isabelle and a computer. Next was a rearview mirror.

I’ve had a standard, mounted at the end of the handlebar rearview mirror (Mirracle) on my mountain bike for years, and it works very well.  However, every time I store it in the garage, I have to rotate the mirror inward. Over time, it gets loose and requires tightening. No big deal, and its a little annoying as it now loosens more easily than it used to, with the seemingly tight mirror starting to flop around half way through a ride, particularly if I’m on a trail or rougher surface. Darn vibrations! Well of course I could carry an allen wrench with me, but. . .

My new bike provided the impetus to research mirror options. There are a few other handlebar mount mirrors, and some helmet mounted ones as well. After sorting through my choices and reading online reviews, I thought I’d try a helmet mounted mirror and purchased a SafeZone mirror. It arrived promptly in the mail, and after struggling a bit to get it assembled (more directions would be nice, even if they just say “yes, use brute force to attach the swivel pieces to each other”), I attached it to my helmet with the zip ties provided, and supplemented that with tape to increase steadiness.

I’ve used this mirror for a few months now, and I don’t love it. My biggest complaint is that with its position on my helmet, if my head  is in a different position relative to my bike, then the mirror position has also changed. Obvious once I think about it, and it’s really annoying. If I’m wanting to know whats behind me, now is when I want the information, not after I’ve repositioned my head and body to see what’s behind me. Related to this is that the aforementioned maneuvers take time, and if I’m looking in the mirror, trying to see what’s behind me, I’m not looking at whats ahead of me. No crashes yet, but I can see the risk here. And then there’s the sun: When it’s behind me, the moment comes when it bounces straight from the mirror into my eyes. Given it’s a largish (3″diameter) mirror close to my head, that’s tough, too.

Last week, I decided that I wanted to go back to the handlebar mounted mirror. I rode over to my local bike shop and purchased one, and the clerk assured me it was an easy mounting job. Sunday, I was ready to do the deed. First chore, cut through the rubber on the end of the handgrip. It cut easily enough, but then, rather than finding either an open tubing end or an end cap to remove, it appears to be a solid end on the tubing.  I poke around some, but not wanting to totally destroy my grip, I stop and ride back to the bike shop. A different clerk helps me, and he hears my tale, suggests that its probably an end cap, and we go outside to look at my bike. I do learn something here, that there’s an easy way to release the grip. He does that, pokes around a bit, and says “you’re right, it is solid”. Well crud.

Now what are my options?  I might be able to get a new kind of grip and put on the intended mirror, although I didn’t think about that at the shop. They did have another kind of bike mounted mirror for me to try. I experimented with it in 3 different positions, riding around to test it out. On both of the handlebar mounts, about a third of my view in the mirror is my left arm. Not helpful.  The other option was to try a fork mount, which I didn’t find particularly useful, either, too much of my leg in the mirror, and it wasn’t easy to see upcoming traffic behind me, which is the whole point of the mirror.

For now, I’m back with my helmet-mounted SafeZone mirror. Through all these shenanigans, I did get it in a better position. Here’s hoping it holds.

4 thoughts on “Mirror, mirror

    1. Yes, there are lots of goofy drivers of both cars and bikes around. I’m fortunate that where I live there are a lot of bike paths and designated lanes, so its a wee bit less scary. And of course, that’s part of the ongoing quest for a functional mirror!

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  1. wow, I never thought about putting a mirror on a bike or on a helmet. It sounds like a great idea especially with the way some people drive. I don’t know about the helmet one though. Seems complicated. might be cool to put a cheap camera up there though.

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    1. I really like having a bike-mounted rear view mirror. Works much like the one on a car, and useful for all the same reasons. I agree that the helmet mount is more complicated, and while I don’t really like it, it is (mostly) better than no mirror, and until I figure out a bike mount for my hybrid bike, its what I will use.

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