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Old 05-01-10, 04:58 PM   #1
Noobtastic
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Other ways to look back?

I wore my take-a-look eyeglass mount mirror again. I really hate it, no offense to the inventors. Has anyone else gone through this? I take a really long time getting it into a position where I can see the car behind me when I'm in a bike lane. But when it is positioned well, I normally can't focus on it with my left eye without closing my right; and when I have it mounted I'm always looking out for some notorious cyclist killer when I hear a car coming, totally killing the fun of riding my bike. It sometimes sags from my glasses (I use the mirror on my prescriptions and sunglasses) and I hate taking off my glasses to adjust the mirror when I'm at an intersection and the light might turn green any second.

Are bar end mirrors really that bad? Do they make you straighten up the bars and lean away to the side just to get a clear look behind? Are they also difficult to adjust? I always look back before changing lanes if I just checked my mirror, but I feel like there are many situations that would make me grateful for having a mirror before looking; like when you need to switch lanes but you do not know if any cars are about to pass you or how close they are passing.

Does anyone use any different methods for looking back while riding on the road? I'm well familiar with the "stand up on pedals and rest chin on left shoulder" method, since I'm currently dodging the eyeglass mirror.
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Old 05-01-10, 07:00 PM   #2
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not sure what your problem is, I use a take a look mirror mounted on either my hard shell helmet or the brim of my ball cap, and I find that it's easy to adjust and easy to use. Bar end mirrors are fine, but expect a lot of breakage because of the mount location, and plan to replace often; also expect a more jiggly view, because it's mounted on the bike instead of on your person.
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Old 05-01-10, 09:23 PM   #3
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Try mounting it to your helmet instead of your glasses, you really want to get the mirror as far in front and to the left as possible.
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Old 05-01-10, 09:51 PM   #4
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I use a Cycleaware Reflex, it's easier to adjust than the Take-A-Look and has the advantage that it has neither the sharp edge of the mirror nor the extremely stiff wire right next to your face, in case of an accident (speaking from painful experience here).

Focusing on it without closing one eye is just a matter of practice. In fact, you don't have to "focus" on the mirror - you focus on what's in the mirror, which is dozens of feet away, not inches, so you don't actually have to refocus at all. What you're experiencing is the inability to select only the image coming from your left eye and ignore the right for a short period of time. Once you're used to it, it's trivial. I can look in my mirror and back again in well under a second without even moving my head, and I can sweep a wide area behind me with just a small movement of my head and a second or two. I don't even think about it anymore, same as when I'm in my car and checking my mirrors; it's just something I automatically do.

Yes, bar end mirrors are that bad. I've tried 3 or 4 from several makers and I've found them all pretty much totally useless.

My mirror is mounted on my helmet, not my glasses. I used to use glasses mount, but that meant I had to take them off when I got somewhere, and I was always forgetting to put them back on. With a helmet mount, the mirror is just always there, never ever forgotten.
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Old 05-01-10, 10:00 PM   #5
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take a look mirrors come with several different stem lengths - I think longer is generally better (although the short stem may work better on glasses) - and sometimes you need to bend the stem a bit to get the best view angle
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Old 05-02-10, 12:44 AM   #6
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take a look mirrors come with several different stem lengths - I think longer is generally better (although the short stem may work better on glasses) - and sometimes you need to bend the stem a bit to get the best view angle
This. When I first got a Take-a-Look, it was the "compact" version- smaller mirror, shorter stem. I could not for the life of me get a comfortable position on my helmet visor, but could get a sort of decent position on my sunglasses frame. However, I didn't like the glasses mount because that put the mirror in my forward-viewing periphery, forcing me to, say, turn my head to view the left side of an intersection I was crossing, rather than just shift my eyes.

I went back to the LBS and they graciously let me exchange for a "standard" size version. It mounts to my visor, and is further out in front, allowing me to get a scan of the road behind me without any major focus adjustment.

To prevent the sagging you're experiencing, and further, to prevent the mirror from unclasping while you try to adjust it, use a small (4") zip tie around the clasp and whatever you're mounting to- obviously much more viable if you mount to a helmet than to your glasses- after all, this is a semi-permanent mounting solution.
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Old 05-02-10, 12:53 AM   #7
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Also, like other dude mentioned, don't focus on the mirror as an object- i.e. if you're focused on 20' in front of you and want to look in the mirror, don't change your focus to 3" in front of you; If you go from looking 20' forward to shifting you vision toward the mirror placement, you should be getting a clear image of what is 20' behind you immediately (while the object of the mirror itself (and everything beyond it) is a blurry periphery).

It used to perplex me as a yout when I'd look in a mirror while removing / putting back on my glasses and further away objects in the reflection would change focus even though the mirror itself was close enough to not be affected by my nearsightedness. Same phenomenon applies with the bicycle mirror

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Old 05-02-10, 01:03 AM   #8
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Are bar end mirrors really that bad? Do they make you straighten up the bars and lean away to the side just to get a clear look behind? Are they also difficult to adjust?
No, no and no.

I can't believe I'm saying this.

I was a confirmed mirror skeptic for decades but I was in a store a few months ago and saw a Zefal Spin barend mirror for just a few bucks and I bought it on a lark. What attracted me, aside from the price, was the small size. The mirror is just over an inch high and only 2― inches wide. I actually expected not to be able to see much at all but at least the thing wouldn't stick out too far, I could always take it off and store it with my collection of kickstands, I wouldn't be out much and I'd be able to say that I'd at least tried a mirror in the last 30 years.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. What I can see out of this thing is incredible. It did get out of adjustment too easily but I adjusted it the way I wanted and secured it with electrial tape so it wouldn't move side to side. I still have to adjust it up and down almost every time I ride but that just takes a couple of seconds (and maybe if I didn't bump the mirror every time I put the bike away, I wouldn't have to do that).

I've since purchased more mirrors so I can install them on more bikes. I haven't installed one on a road bike yet, so I'm not sure how it'll work. The angles are different and I suspect I won't like it as well but we'll see. One of my bikes has barend shifters and I suspect that will be a problem.

One of my bikes has a very small hole in the handlebar, so the mirror didn't fit and installation became a bit of a project. I wound up doing major surgery on the mirror and cutting up a pen and using the barrel as a wedge. I must have done something right because it's working just fine.

I rode for decades without a mirror and didn't expect a mirror to be worth the trouble. But I was wrong. For one thing, this mirror is almost no trouble at all. For another thing, it really is a nice thing to have.
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Old 05-02-10, 01:10 AM   #9
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I can't remember the manufacturer but I have a nice 2 - 2.5" mirror mounted to my helmet and it provides me an excellent view of the road behind me. I haven't used bar ends or bar mounted mirrors, don't really need 'em with my helmet mounted mirror. And it attaches in one of two ways either via velcro or with plastic ties. And as I've said I haven't had any problems with it.

As far as adjustment problems about the only time that I have those kinds of issues is if I knock the mirror after the helmet has been removed from my head. Then it's easy enough to readjust. Plus it's construction is a series of ball and socket joints.

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Old 05-02-10, 09:01 AM   #10
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I'm pushing 60 and I don't quite get the mirror thing. Years ago when I was teaching effective cycling to students (high school to adult), oneof the skills I taught was turning back for a quick glance without changing your bikes direction. I realize some folks may have neck problems and may not be able to do so, but most folks can/should be able to glance back without an issue. That said, my wife uses a bar-end mirror on her bike and likes it. I normally know I car is coming before she says anything from the sound and can tell if it's a truck easily by sound alone too. As I hear a car approach I will often move left a foot or so and then move back as it gets very close. Nornally I do this without thinking much and without looking back. Looking back for a split second is a skill worth practicing. I feel no need for a mirror but do agree they can be useful. Whether it's a helmet mount (never tried one) or bar mount, plenty of folks use one or the other. If you didn't like the glasses mount, try a bar-end. They aren't expensive. You can order three or four different ones online and return the ones you don't like...or do similarly if you have a good lbs.
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Old 05-02-10, 09:11 AM   #11
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One upon a time there (perhaps 10 years ago) there was a cycling helmet marketed in the UK called, IIRC, the "REVUE". It had a pair of mirrors, one long horizontal one mounted under the visor and a second one (or was it two?) actually inside the top of the helmet that enabled the rider to look straight back through his or her helmet.

Never passed US standards as I recall, and had mixed reviews. I think roller bladers liked it the most because it favored their posture.

Wow, I just googled this helmet, and it appears to have disappeared under the sands of time. But I swear I'm not making it up. Not helped by the name, with brings up all manner of "revues" for helmets generally. Alas.

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Old 05-02-10, 12:04 PM   #12
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Thank you for the input everyone. I just mounted my mirror on a helmet visor and while it still shakes loose (due to the visor design), the mirror sits far from my face and naturally has to be at a 90 degree angle, so now it looks over my shoulder by default. I'll probably fix the mirror to one of my helmets with good ol' duct tape. Now that it isn't 4 inches in front of my left eye I can look at it with both eyes, I'll have to take a spin around the neighborhood to see how much better it is now.
Also thanks for the bar-end suggestion JRA. While I am using my take-a-look mirror, I'm still going to offer to barter with anyone in my area for a good bar-end mirror. I like the idea of the mirror being completely out of the way. I don't even need one since my round-trip commute includes only two major roads (both which are one ways with 2 or 3 lanes) but who knows when danger will choose to come around.

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. I normally know a car is coming before she says anything from the sound and can tell if it's a truck easily by sound alone too. As I hear a car approach I will often move left a foot or so and then move back as it gets very close. Normally I do this without thinking much and without looking back. Looking back for a split second is a skill worth practicing. I feel no need for a mirror but do agree they can be useful.
Do you move left to encourage the driver to give three feet? I've noticed that if I ride right on the white line of the bike lane, many drivers change lanes rather than pass me like I don't exist. Is this good strategy?
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Old 05-02-10, 12:17 PM   #13
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Here are some photos of a bar-end mirror. It extends far enough that I can see the cars behind me without seeing my own clothing. This mirror is mounted with a Velcro strap, so it can be removed to permit bringing the bike in through a doorway. This mirror is made by Blackburn, but I have another mirror , of the same type, made by Rhode Gear. The Mirrycle mirror is good, but the Mirrycle mounts inside the bar end with an expanding plug.
All the mirrors I mention are convex mirrors, which give a wide field of view, i.e. three or four lanes at the same time.

If the velcro mount mirror gets knocked out of line, it can be re-adjusted without need of a wrench.
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Old 05-02-10, 12:18 PM   #14
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I'm pushing 60 and I don't quite get the mirror thing. Years ago when I was teaching effective cycling to students (high school to adult), oneof the skills I taught was turning back for a quick glance without changing your bikes direction. I realize some folks may have neck problems and may not be able to do so, but most folks can/should be able to glance back without an issue.
The mirror allows me to keep tabs on every car approaching me. If I did that by turning my head I'd look like an owl and I'd spend most of my time turning my head.

I can't really turn my head enough to look back THROUGH MY GLASSES, and if I'm looking out of the corner of my eye without my glasses, I can't really see well enough. Using the mirror let's me look behind me easily, through my glasses, and MUCH faster than I could turn my head around and back again.
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Old 05-02-10, 01:41 PM   #15
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I had a bar-mounted mirror on a bike for a year or two before, one day on a rough stretch of road, it went flying and was chewed up by traffic.

Other than that, it worked great.

I now use a Take-A-Look on my glasses, which I prefer because I can easily scan around by moving me head a bit, but they each get the job done.
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Old 05-02-10, 03:45 PM   #16
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I just mounted my mirror on a helmet visor and while it still shakes loose (due to the visor design), the mirror sits far from my face and naturally has to be at a 90 degree angle, so now it looks over my shoulder by default. I'll probably fix the mirror to one of my helmets with good ol' duct tape.

I'm tellin' you, zip ties, baby! (a.k.a. cable ties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_tie) Available at any hardware store, and infinitely useful (I keep a few in my saddle bag with my emergency tools, "just in case").
You might also have some tightenability in the mirror's clasp by bending it ever so slightly, so it'll clamp more tightly to the visor. Nevertheless, I'm still pushing hard for zip ties
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Old 05-02-10, 05:02 PM   #17
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I have a Take-A-Look on my helmet, secured with a small piece of velcro.

An instructor in a motorcycle safety class had a good way of describing mirror use. He said that mirrors have a one word vocabulary. They can only say 'No'. If you want to change lane position, check the mirror first. If you see traffic in the mirror, obviously, don't move over. If it looks clear in the mirror, then turn your head to do an direct visual check before changing lanes.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:34 PM   #18
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I have a Take-A-Look on my helmet, secured with a small piece of velcro.

An instructor in a motorcycle safety class had a good way of describing mirror use. He said that mirrors have a one word vocabulary. They can only say 'No'. If you want to change lane position, check the mirror first. If you see traffic in the mirror, obviously, don't move over. If it looks clear in the mirror, then turn your head to do an direct visual check before changing lanes.
This is exactly how I use my handle bar mounted mirror.

Yes, it shakes a bit, but I only use it to verify that it is worth turning my head. I would do this by listening to traffic, but there are too many cars on many of my routes and you just can't hear the difference. So the mirror just becomes a "should I head check now" thing. I love it and miss it dearly when I ride a bike without it.
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Old 05-03-10, 07:15 AM   #19
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I had similar struggles with a Take-a-Look, finding it necessary to close the right eye. After accumulating a few hours of riding it was only necessary to blink the right eye to get the mirror in focus. After a few more hours the magic finally happened: no blinks, no problems. I known even use the beautiful little thing for rearward sight seeing and making eye contact with other riders. This last has caused some good laughs.

After less than two seasons of using it, forgetting the Take-a-Look leaves me feeling right strange.
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Old 05-03-10, 08:51 AM   #20
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I known even use the beautiful little thing for rearward sight seeing and making eye contact with other riders. This last has caused some good laughs.
Funny how used to using them you can get. When I go for a walk, especially on a crowded city sidewalk, I find myself glancing up and to the left where the mirror would be to check for traffic.
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Old 05-03-10, 09:06 AM   #21
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For those of us who use visorless helmets, you can use this adapter to attach the Take-a-look mirror to your helmet:

http://www.amazon.com/Bike-Peddler-C...ef=pd_sim_sg_1

My Take-a-look came with the adapter, but apparently they don't include it with the mirror anymore. The double-sided tape failed after a couple of years, so I just reattached it with some gorilla glue and a couple of small wood screws as anchors, hasn't budged since! (I probably could have just used some 3M double-sided foam tape, but I had misplaced my stash)
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Old 05-03-10, 09:20 AM   #22
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As said in another thread I use a Mirrycle bar end mirror on the end of my drop bars. Works well, doesn't cause any increase in width and I can see behind me!
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Old 05-03-10, 09:56 AM   #23
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I wore my take-a-look eyeglass mount mirror again.....Does anyone use any different methods for looking back while riding on the road? ......
The problem, as Shakespeare might have said, is in your mirror, not in your minds eye. Two things are wrong with contemporary eyeglass mirrors. First they are made of plastic and rattle and scratch like the blazes. Second the mirror arm is TOO SHORT. Thus you bug-eyed trying to look in the mirror. They try and solve this problem by meking the mirror larger in diameter (forget SQUARE mirrors. Do you have square eyes? or worse yet, convex.

The best thing to do is make one homemade, maybe with the help of someone who cuts and fixes stained glass.


(1) The METAL arm holding the round mirror should go COMPLETELY around it (or 90%of so) to hold it firmly. No BALL IN SOCKET plastic joints (arf).

(2) the metal arm should be thick and firm....almost as thick as coathanger metal...but not quite that.

(3) the metal arm should be long enough long enough long enough...did I say long enough that the mirror is IN YOUR FIELD OF VISION. You can rock your head left and right to get the perspective you need on the roadway.

(4) if you attach it to your eyeglasses the frame is gonna have to be thick enough that the mirrow clasp gets a firm bite. Wire thin frames would do.

Like alot of bicycle/outdoor equipment these days sold at Dick's and everywhere else, the designers are not cyclists, backpackers, or outdoorsmen in any way.

roughstuff

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Old 05-03-10, 10:03 AM   #24
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I've had far better utility with bar end mirror than Take-A-Look. I gave T-A-L and honest, determined, extended and instructed by BF experts try several times and never could get it adjusted ideally and always was distracted by the mirror in vision field.

My bar end mirror has survived 5yrs. of near daily use. The vibration is minimal and only really noticeable on rough roads - even when vibrating you can still see vehicles.
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Old 05-03-10, 11:06 AM   #25
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I've had far better utility with bar end mirror than Take-A-Look. I gave T-A-L and honest, determined, extended and instructed by BF experts try several times and never could get it adjusted ideally and always was distracted by the mirror in vision field.

My bar end mirror has survived 5yrs. of near daily use. The vibration is minimal and only really noticeable on rough roads - even when vibrating you can still see vehicles.

Proof that the type of mirror you use is a matter ot taste and opinion. I would say, indeed, that the mirror in my field of vision 'distracts me,' but in a positive sense, meaning i can glance at it so quickly and frequently that it helps me 'own the road.'

The novelty of any mirror when ya first start using it might take getting used to.

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