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Thread: Mirrors

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    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    Mirrors

    I've heard different opinions on this. :confused: Why is it frowned upon to have a mirror on ones bicycle?
    I've been thinking of getting on since I always look for it (mirror) out of habit from motorcycling. Seems like it would be a good safety feature to have while in traffic.

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    That's the influence of racing. Most biker that I see on the street are bare of anything other than frame, saddle, trans and wheels. The most you see hanging off a bike is an occasional micro bullet pack wedged into the seatrails. A lot of the cyclists are competitive types, too, and think of mirrors as nerdy.

    Mirrors can be useful, as well as saddlebags and lights too.

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    There is no reason NOT to have one if you want. I like seeing what's behind me also and have a mirror on every bike I own --which is a fair number, but not as many as mike.
    ljbike

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    My bike is equiped with lights, reflectors, bags, but not a mirror.
    I prefer to keep my eyes on the road, and use my peripheral vision and hearing. I dont seem to have any problem detecting traffic comming from behind.

    A mirror forces you to focus your vision in a small area, and you can lose peripheral vision for a moment. Since danger usually comes from the front and sides rather than behind, I dont like to take my eye off the road.

    If you want to use a mirror, thats fine, but check how it affects your whole looking process. I tend to use a scanning mode, searching the road surface, the traffic several vehicles in front of me, the edges of the road, any upcoming junctions, and and behind me, in a continuous process.

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    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    I'm looking at the mirror thing the same as it would be on a motorcycle. I don't know if anyone here has a motorcycle(s), but I can't imagine looking at a mirror on a bicycle is any more distracting than on a motorcycle or is that just me.
    Last edited by Stor Mand; 04-06-02 at 12:45 PM.

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    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    I use the Take-a-look glasses-mount mirror. I find it much less shaky, with a wider field of view, and far quicker to focus on for quick glances than any bar-mount mirror I ever tried. And it's obviously cheaper if you have multiple bikes.

    My commute -- especially the homeward leg -- involves a lot of left turns on multi-lane roads. For me the huge benefit of the mirror is as a merging aid in heavy traffic. Since I would be wearing some sort of eyeglasses anyway, which tend to interfere somewhat with peripheral vision, the mirror helps me move to my left safely without turning my head completely around while riding in dense urban traffic.

    RichC

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I have mirrors on most of my favorite bikes. In fact, I don't feel comfortable riding without one.

    I have had two occassions where I was almost run over from the back - I didn't have my mirror in either case. Now, I shiver like a giraffe on lightning day when I am in traffic without a mirror.
    Mike

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    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    I would say if you keep your ears and eyes open, and you feel comfortable with turning around while your on the bike to look back, you don't need a mirror (yes this is coming from a racer...).

    Being safe in traffic means you need to have good bike handling skills, including being able to look behind you. With a mirror, you're missing out on the skill.
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
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    RetroGrouchWrench Rural Roadie's Avatar
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    If by myself it's not so bad without but in a group or in town I have to have a helmet mirror, too many sounds to keep track of and no time to turn and look behind. On motorcycle I have a bar-end mirror, gets it out far enough that I can see behind me instead of whats of to my left and what i'm wearing.
    If you think a helmet mirror looks bad think about how bad a case of road rash looks.
    my 2 cents

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    Senior Member phoenyix's Avatar
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    I myself do not use a mirror, nor have I ever needed one. I can hear traffic coming from quite some distance.


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    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    So far, we have a mixed bag of answers but the question never really answered.

    The question was (is): Why is it frowned upon (by some) to have a mirror on ones bicycle?

    Some make it sound like if one uses a mirror, that person is less skilled or not aware of their surroundings.

    I don't beleive that to be the case if a mirror is used. It's seems like a good extra tool to use, if needed. Just as in driving a motorcycle or a car, a good driver uses the mirrors regularly to be aware of the surrounding while still seeing the road ahead, without having to turn around. By the way, I do not have a mirror on my bicycle.

  12. #12
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Stor Mand
    The question was (is): Why is it frowned upon (by some) to have a mirror on ones bicycle?

    Some make it sound like if one uses a mirror, that person is less skilled or not aware of their surroundings.
    It's just one of those stupid "fashion" statement things that people crap on with. Some people might think you're not "a real biker" if you have one. Personally, I think things like ettiquette and fashion are evil and disgusting, and I try to avoid their deceptive practices so I can join the forces of good (i.e. individuality, doing what I want).

    As far as a mirror goes, I had one, but I didn't find it really all that useful. When I wanted to see what was behind me, I always ended up having a quick glance over my shoulder instead. About the only time I ever noticed it was when the sun was behind me, and then not in a positive way. As a result, when it broke off on a tour a few years back, I didn't bother to fix it.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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    Velolutionary IowaParamedic's Avatar
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    I have a problem when I look behind me and I tend to swerve into the direction that I am looking. A mirror may solve this problem.

  14. #14
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Stor Mand
    Why is it frowned upon (by some) to have a mirror on ones bicycle?
    I think Oscar nailed it regarding the bike mounted mirror. The racing/wannabe community eschews anything that adds weight or wind resistance. The difference is niggling for more general riders, but if you're paying upwards of $25/gram to shed weight, adding a mirror would be out of the question. Those who actively disdain glasses and helmet mounted mirrors probably do so out of fashion conciousness or machismo.

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    Here's my 2¢ for what it's worth.

    I have a mirror on road helmet I wear when riding my road bike. I want to be able to see who or what is behind me.

    I have a mirror on my "commuting" helmet and a handlebar mounted mirror on my commuter bike. I want to be able to see who or what is behind me.

    It's as simple as that. I don't race, I ride for fun exercise, fitness, pleasure, fresh air ...
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
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    I currently use a melmet mirror, and I'm completely used to it by now. In fact, when I hear something behind me while I'm walking, I often turn my head 180 degrees from the sound, in order to get a mirror view! It's actually become a reflex reaction now.
    I'm currently looking at new helmets, since I need one for summer that has bigger vents, and just looks better. Most of the newer helmets don't have a good place to mount my helmet mirror! I may have to rethink the whole mirror thing for my roadbike.
    I don't like bar mirrors-they always break. The hood mirrors seem to be in the way, especially for somebody who uses the hoods a lot. I'm seriousl considering a top-tube mirror, but I've never used one before.
    Does anybody out there have experience with one? Seems to me, your thighs and crotch will be most of what you will see in this type of mirror. Is is practical for seeing traffic? My recent near-hood-ornament experience leads me to believe that seeing homicidal motorists before they run you over is the most effective method of preventing injury.
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  17. #17
    Almost Immortal The Rob's Avatar
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    I'm none too fond of bar mirrors either so far. The ball-and-socket variety appear too susceptible to road vibration especially now that I've switched out Tank Jr.'s knobbies in favor of Invert 2 tires. I'm visiting my bike shop soon to peruse the helmet-mount mirrors available though I suspect the vent issue will present a hardship.

    My reason for using a mirror isn't motoring traffic. I'm pretty disciplined about keeping line of travel and therefore pose no surprise for overtaking automobiles, and I figure that by the time my mirror alerts me to imminent peril it'll be too late to take effective evasive action. My mirror is for the detection of certain of my cycling brethren and sistern, those that see no need in announcing their presence as they overtake me. I keep up the pace when road-riding alone and so this very rarely happens (Portland's biking commuters are in no particular hurry, I've found), but come the day I find myself in a tangle of frames and wheels and flailing limbs, and I glance up from beneath the writhing form of the eejit who hit me to see a motor vehicle attempting desperately (hopefully not in vain) to avoid rolling over the both of us, I'll be a tad annoyed.

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  18. #18
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I think it was Rich who advocated the "Take A Look" style helmet mounted mirror. Instead of circular they are fairly large and rectangular in shape. They give you the 'Big picture,' with a quick glance. Would not leave without it. In fact when I have- I usually return home to get it.
    It makes scanning traffic so much quicker and thorough. Just hearing what is behind you is not enough. If you hear something sounding like it is accelerating, better use your full mirror earlier on, in order to ditch your bike- away from traffic. When I turn my head to see what is behind me, it seems the swerving of the bike, at time- is almost enough to loose control.

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    I tried a "take-a-look" type mirror, but found that it mostly gave me a view of my shoulder and was finicky to keep adjusted. I now use a bar-end mirror, which is more satisfactory. There is some vibration on rough surfaces, but I only need to see whether there is a car behind me, not read the license plate. I tend to use the mirror in the following situations.

    1. Making left turns in heavy traffic. It is difficult to continually look over my shoulder for a break in traffic.

    2. When forced by bad road shoulders to ride in the middle of the traffic lane, I use the mirror to avoid having a car sneak up on me from behind. Using my ears worked most of the time, but there were a few surprises.

    3. In a paceline, the mirror helps me keep an eye on the riders behind me. Just yesterday, I was pulling a group and accelerated too fast out of the turn, dropping the rider behind me. I just feels too dangerous to look back over my shoulder with someone inches from my back wheel. The mirror makes this much easier.

    Out of style-conciousness, I tried riding without a mirror, but my practicality eventually won out. One other thing that I have noticed is that most older riders, even very competitive ones, use a mirror of some sort. This could be a Darwinian process of natural selection or just a triumph of common sense over testosterone.

  20. #20
    Pat
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    Well, Mirrors are viewed by Racing Types as something that unskilled cyclists use. Most mirrors have only a very minor weight addition. Racers crash fairly regularly and a mirror is just one more thing to break or get impaled on. Also most racers are young enough to be flexible enough to glance back and see stuff.

    Mirrors make sense for recreational cyclists. I used to use a helmet mounted mirror and although those suckers are tiny, I could see all over the place by panning (moving my head slightly so the mirror would show me various angles). The mirror gave me great coverage.

  21. #21
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    I've had a Blackburn helmet mirror for just over a week now and am generally impressed. I find I'm using it in combination with an occasional full head turn - particularly useful on straight busy roads with occasional parked cars. It is taking me a little while to get used to rapidly changing focus but it seems to becoming more natural fairly quickly. I don't find it a major problem adjusting the position for best view - literally a few seconds. The only minor problem I've had is the mirror moves under air pressure at much more than 32 mph, but as I only reach such speeds on the occasional hill I don't find it a major problem, and could probably tighten the adjustment screw anyway...

    The big question is can I fix a red LED to the front to make me look like a borg

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

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    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Richard D

    The big question is can I fix a red LED to the front to make me look like a borg
    Actually, that'd probably be a fairly simple thing to do. All you need is a single AA battery, a resistor, a small switch, a short length of wire and an LED.

    Solder the resistor to the anode leg of the LED and the positive side of the battery (via a short wire with the switch) and a wire between the cathode of the LED and the negative side of the battery. The value of the resistor is fairly critical so as not to burn out the LED, and will depend on the ratings on the LED. Running from a single battery (1.5/1.2V) you probably won't even need one for most LEDs.

    Duct tape the battery somewhere out of the way on the helmet, cut the leads short on the LED, superglue it to the mirror, and voila! you have been assimilated.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  23. #23
    Just Follow Your Feet! AlphaGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Allister

    ...voila! you have been assimilated.
    Recumbents rock!

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    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    I have a helmet mirror and I like it a lot - so much so that if I am walking down the street and I hear a noise behind me, I glance up to the top left, where the mirror would be if I had the helmet on.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

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