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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-24-05, 06:20 PM   #1
JohnnyCool
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Mirror users please advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
...You can use a mirror to watch for a gap in the traffic to make the move across the lane.
Stole this quote from another thread but thought I should start a new one rather than hijack it.

My biggest reason for not using a mirror is that I don't think I would trust them. Just like the side mirror in a car, I think I would always turn and look rather than trust a mirror which begs the question...if you're going to turn and look anyway, why use it? I also think I would be worried about the blindspot it would create and I just think it would bug me having this thing sticking out from my helmet or glasses.
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Old 08-24-05, 06:28 PM   #2
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I have used a mirror for over ten years and I would feel naked without it. When going across heavy traffic as stated in the other thread, I would use the mirror and look. Just use your common sense.
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Old 08-24-05, 07:05 PM   #3
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I use a bar-end mounted mirror all the time. Keeps me aware of the SUV sneaking up on me without having to take my eyes too far off the road. Otherwise I might be surprised or startled when the cars blow past.
When I change lanes or turn, I check the mirror AND turn to look, same as I do when I drive. Can't be too cautious.

I don't use a helmet mirror. Wrong focal distance for me and too distracting.


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Originally Posted by tibikefor2
I have used a mirror for over ten years and I would feel naked without it. When going across heavy traffic as stated in the other thread, I would use the mirror and look. Just use your common sense.
Last month when I was walking on a local MUP that I usually ride on (W&OD), I found myself checking my non-existent mirror to see what was behind me. Even after I realized what I was doing, I couldn't stop myself. Too much a habit.
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Old 08-24-05, 07:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyCool
I also think I would be worried about the blindspot it would create and I just think it would bug me having this thing sticking out from my helmet or glasses.
superlite from performance is wide angle like a cars side mirrors, but better. No blind spot. It mounts on the handlebars so nothing on your helmet or glasses. You still have to turn and look but no more kids sneaking up on and and shouting as they go by.
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Old 08-24-05, 07:40 PM   #5
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i agree with everybody else in that there is no substitute for actually turning and looking your head to see if there are any cars. however, i use a helmet/eyeglass mounted mirror because it doesn't get as thrown out of alignment when going over sharp bumps and plus, you can turn your head to quickly scan behind you.
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Old 08-24-05, 07:48 PM   #6
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The problem with turning your head to take a look is twofold:

1) you can't see where you're going, and might whack into the pot-hole or whatever that you might have missed before you turned your head.
2) there is a natural tendency to turn the bike in the direction you are looking (as any instructor will tell you - check the web-articles on counter-steering, and performing sharp turns…). It's very difficult to cycle in a straight line whilst looking over your shoulder. I have a mirror on the off-side of the handle-bar, and another on my helmet. I'd feel naked without them!

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Old 08-25-05, 04:19 AM   #7
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I too would feel funny without my mirror. When I have ridden without I feel unsafe! But like everyone else here I still look back when moving left. It is just I can kind of keep an eye on what's going on behind be as I approach my turn. I look back more for the drivers behind me to confirm that I am doing something other then going straight.
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Old 08-25-05, 06:29 AM   #8
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I check my mirror occasionally just to make sure if there's a car behind me I will be aware of it. Also when I'm about to go into the traffic (to make left turns etc) I'll check a lot more often for some distance to have a better idea of the traffic, and I do always turn my head to make sure I'm clear of the blind spot before I dive in. I think using mirror and turning your head gives you a lot better idea without unintentionally swaying around. As Wil noted, no matter how hard I practice I still find myself turn even a tiniest bit when I turn my head (and some SUVs just come way too close).
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Old 08-25-05, 06:30 AM   #9
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The mirror is 100% reliable. In almost 30 years of using one, it has never mis-led me or confused me in any way. I can see why the original poster is concerned. Your brain adapts to it being there, though. Then it becomes a spare "eye" pointing backwards. It's just amazing.

I think PEDESTRIANS should where them too, on their glasses.
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Old 08-25-05, 06:36 AM   #10
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I've been using a helmet mirror for a few days. It's better than being without a mirror, but I want to try a bar-end mirror, too. The helmet mirror needs constant adjustment and I had to learn how to move my head to get the mirror to show the road behind me (inevitably, I adjust it and the next time I need it, either it has moved or I'm in a different position or posture.)

Still beats having no idea what's back there without turning around, though. I don't ride in heavy traffic, so I don't use it to see lanes.
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Old 08-25-05, 06:46 AM   #11
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For me handlebar mirror is additional info, not a substitute for turning and looking. I still look over my shoulder to change lanes, for example. The mirror definitely adds to my sense of situational awareness. It also helps a lot when towing a longish trailer.

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Old 08-25-05, 07:09 AM   #12
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I like the Bike Peddler Take A Look Original Mirror with Adapter from REI attached to my helmet.
(http://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod...cat=REI_SEARCH)

It lets me see traffic comming up, to move right, speed up, abandon ship, sense the panic, etc... On roads with bike lanes & low traffic, it is nice to ride in the outside lane to avoid glass etc. & then move into the bike lane when traffic approaches.

I feel it's a must when commuting.
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Old 08-25-05, 07:46 AM   #13
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Well I use the take-a-look mirrors, two of them on my sunglasses. In downtown or at rush hour, its great then you have to pull into traffic to make a left turn or when you make a left into a road way and you have to make your way back to the right lane. I don't use end mirror becuase with fully loaded the bike has gone down, or when your in a small area, you can use that extra room.

Good Luck,

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Old 08-25-05, 08:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cc_rider
I use a bar-end mounted mirror all the time. Keeps me aware of the SUV sneaking up on me without having to take my eyes too far off the road. Otherwise I might be surprised or startled when the cars blow past.
.

Wow, just SUV's and not cars sneak up on you?
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Old 08-25-05, 08:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FXjohn
Wow, just SUV's and not cars sneak up on you?
Yeh, and it's always the same SUV.
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Old 08-25-05, 09:02 AM   #16
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I tried a helmet mirror for about a month, but I hated it; just couldn't get used to it being there. Not so much the blind spot, but the distraction of motion happening in ways my brain didn't expect.

I'm sure it's something that becomes second nature after a while, and once accomodated by the brain is a useful tool indeed, but I got fed up with it too soon. I've heard people complain about handlebar mirrors going out of alignment, and my roads here are waaay bad -- my wheels require pretty much weekly attention. But until my hearing gives out, I use that as my warning sign. Works great -- especially on SUV's.
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Old 08-25-05, 09:15 AM   #17
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Bar end mirror........the only way to go in my mind. I never change lanes with out giving my head a turn and confirming the all clear but I think that is out of habit because I have never relied on the mirror and had a vehicle there when I turned to look. If there is a car in the mirror why even bother looking. A mirror enables me to keep my eyes on the road for more of the time. It also lets me see what is comming up behind me like a bus or some joker trying to get the drop on me.
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Old 08-25-05, 09:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
But until my hearing gives out, I use that as my warning sign.
My hearing makes me paranoid. I can't hear whether the left-to-right position of a car trying to share a lane with me is safe, i just hear whether they're revving their engine. (some people rev their engine and pass me with 6 feet of clearance, which is not something I should need to get worked up over.)

That said, I don't have a mirror. I'm thinking I'll get one, though.
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Old 08-25-05, 09:39 AM   #19
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I find a good helmet mirror ( http://www.hubbub.com/store/proddetail.asp?prod=helmir )on a road bike indespensible. On a recumbent a handlebar mounted mirror often works better.
It is much easier and quicker to check behind you for traffic with a mirror than turning around. You still should look behind you when changing lanes but often times a mirror can warn you of approaching traffic. I find that large trucks in particular do not change lanes when they should if doing so would require them to slow down. Using a mirror I get warning of the situation and can move onto the shoulder and avoid being startled or worse by the passing truck. For me this is particulary true on one section of my route on a four lane road with a wide shoulder. The shoulder is usually littered with debris that make punctures common and cycling difficult so I perfer riding in the right lane. However as I mentioned not all traffic respects my right to the lane. A mirror gives me warning of approacing traffic and allows me to move onto the shoulder when necessary.
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Old 08-25-05, 09:44 AM   #20
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I gotta have a mirror. I go crazy without it. I use a helmet mounted mirror, and I'm with K5fnd, it's never misguided me. There's, like, 135 degrees of site line available by swiveling my melon. My commute is 1/2 roads, 1/2 MUP. The mirror is very useful for traffic, and equally useful to check out joggers' 'assets' on the MUP.
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Old 08-25-05, 09:50 AM   #21
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If you haven't, you gotta try the "take-a-look" eyeglass/helmet mount mirror. I have tried others and they just don't cut it.
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Old 08-25-05, 09:58 AM   #22
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Wow! Lot's of support from mirror users! Alright, I guess I'll give it a try. I think I'll try the REI one.. Since I wear Rx glasses and a helmet (always), it looks like a good way to go. Thanks for the link Jim.
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Old 08-25-05, 10:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejack
I tried a helmet mirror for about a month, but I hated it
I had the same experience, but for different reasons. I found that it jiggled so much that it took several seconds of staring at it just to determine if anything was behind me, whereas a quick peripheral glance told me what I needed to know in less than a second. The mirror, for me, was more unsafe than no mirror. BTW, this is the Take-A-Look mirror.

I'm open to the idea that I wasn't using correctly, but I've had so few occassions where I was truly unsafe without a mirror, that my incentive to change my current methods is low.
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Old 08-25-05, 11:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnbacon
I had the same experience, but for different reasons. I found that it jiggled so much that it took several seconds of staring at it just to determine if anything was behind me, whereas a quick peripheral glance told me what I needed to know in less than a second. The mirror, for me, was more unsafe than no mirror. BTW, this is the Take-A-Look mirror.

I'm open to the idea that I wasn't using correctly, but I've had so few occassions where I was truly unsafe without a mirror, that my incentive to change my current methods is low.
Ditto on same similar experience, same mirro. I tried it once for 4wks, took a 6mo break from it, then tried again for 5wk and could not get used to the jiggle and more so the blind spot distraction it creates.
On my commute I am constantly, with no breaks in traffic, passed by vehicles. I find that a mirror made no difference to knowing they were there as there was no way I would be constantly slightly turning head an dglancing in it to see each and every set of passing vehicles.

For left merges it was kinda useful to find a gap, but as the gaps are so small it was hard to identify them, for me left merging involves negotiating a gap in which case the head turn and sticking left arm out was the only way to get cars to slow to let me merge. So again the mirror was marginally useful and quite distracting. You don't know which cars will slow for you until you turn you head and let them know you want to merge.

I still have it (after the first 4wk trial I returned it to store, but I bought it again 6mo later and even though I don't use it right now kept it so I can give it a go someday again, maybe this thread will spark that )

Al
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Old 08-25-05, 12:01 PM   #25
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The Take-A-Look is an engineering marvel.

first of all, I was rather anti-mirror for years... it didn't fit my racing sensibilities- however- commuting has changed all that. I have been harrassed by the same motorist on two occasions (commute routes don't exactly change) and have found it quite useful. I wouldn't go back to commuting without it.
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