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Old 04-24-08, 07:02 AM   #1
mplee
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Do you use a mirror?

On another thread for Calvin's Challenge I noticed what I considered an odd requirement: all riders must have either a helmet-mounted or bike-mounted mirror. http://www.calvinschallenge.com/category/rules/ They seem pretty adamant about it.

My first year or two of biking I used to wear a helmet-mounted mirror but I didn't use it that much so when it fell off my helmet I never bothered replacing it. Maybe I'm fortunate in where I ride (Chicago and North Shore) that drivers are pretty considerate of bikers but I've never found the need to know what's going on behind me. I rely on my ears to hear cars approaching (no iPods for me!) from the rear and I'll make a quick turn-of-the-head if I need to make a left turn or cross a lane.

I'm not faulting the race organizers. They are obviously much more familiar with the road conditions in and around Springfield, Ohio. I just haven't seen that many riders with mirrors so it caught me by surprise. My question is, how many of you use a mirror and how do you find it useful?

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Old 04-24-08, 07:04 AM   #2
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Oh No.
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Old 04-24-08, 07:07 AM   #3
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It depends on when and where I am riding. If I am forced to be road bound on busy roads I will defintiely wear a mirror as drivers around these parts will completely run you off the road. But if I am along towpaths, roads with bike lanes, or just cruising around town, I will not wear one.
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Old 04-24-08, 07:23 AM   #4
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I use one this year mounted with velcro to my handlebar very near the endcaps. I have had helment and several other kinds of mirrors but this one seems to be the only one that helps even a little. The helmet mirror causes a huge blind spot forward and to the left that bothers me much more then I would have thought.

The reason I said oh no is becasue this is one of the most discussed topics on the BF.
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Old 04-24-08, 08:21 AM   #5
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My only experience with mirrors is the sunglasses mounted take a look. Total distraction! Almost wrecked due to the blindspot in front. Worse, when I cannot see clearly what is in the mirror, I need to turn & scan. Except that the manuever is now ruined by the mirror.

Forget it, those things are a bad bad bad idea. If I were you, I would leave it at the barend mirror. At least you can ignore that one.
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Old 04-24-08, 08:31 AM   #6
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On roads, I love having a mirror.
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Old 04-24-08, 08:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
My only experience with mirrors is the sunglasses mounted take a look. Total distraction! Almost wrecked due to the blindspot in front. Worse, when I cannot see clearly what is in the mirror, I need to turn & scan. Except that the manuever is now ruined by the mirror.

Forget it, those things are a bad bad bad idea. If I were you, I would leave it at the barend mirror. At least you can ignore that one.
The one by my endcaps is occassionally useful. The helment and glasses mirrors are big blind spot causers.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:08 AM   #8
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I've got a helmet mounted mirror, so I always have it with me and I usually keep it swivelled in place where I can use it, rather than swung up out-of-the-way.
I ride on lots of roads with heavy traffic and narrow shoulders, so knowing what's coming up behind me is very important. Just listening for cars doesn't always work around here when the traffic noise seems to be coming from everywhere, and lots of people have very quiet vehicles (hybrids, ULEV, PZEV, etc.) Sometimes, even on an empty road, I can barely hear those things coming.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:36 AM   #9
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I always ride with a helmet mirror. Adjust it so it doesn't create a blind spot and so you have to turn your head slightly to see what's behind you. Always keep your head moving. Situational awareness.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:41 AM   #10
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I only ever ride with a mirror on my recumbent trike. On the trike I couldnt imagine riding without one as it is very difficult to actually see behind you and I constantly want to monitor the traffic. I wouldnt consider using one for my regular bikes where it is much easier to turn round or see what is behind you.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:44 AM   #11
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I wear one and find it very useful on highways with a rough shoulder so I can take the lane and move over when I see a car approaching.
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Old 04-24-08, 12:22 PM   #12
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The requirement at Calvin's is borne of a death at the race several years ago: Truck was passing line of cyclists left of the double-yellow; cyclist made left turn; killed instantly. They are very serious about the rule; you won't be permitted to start without satisfying the mirror requirement.

Outside of Calvin's, I personally don't ride with a mirror, but I've noticed every year they're becoming more and more common.
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Old 04-24-08, 03:14 PM   #13
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i've never used one. and from my experience, people wearing them still need to look back anyway at some point or another.

they're convenient, sure, but why not stretch a little and crane that neck?

maybe i've naive or overly optimistic, but i rely on my ears & neck to see behind me. but whatever works for you, do it!
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Old 04-24-08, 03:15 PM   #14
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I have a mirror mounted on my bars (it's a German mirror that I got from Rivendell). I'm blind in my left eye, so I find the mirror helpful for seeing cars coming up behind me. Without the mirror, I have to turn my head to the right (think Carrie!) to see to the left.
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Old 04-24-08, 03:30 PM   #15
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i have a take a look mirror taped to my helmet, this way i can take my glasses of and still rock a mirror!
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Old 04-24-08, 08:56 PM   #16
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I use a bar-end mirror on my flat bar commuter, and a sunglass-mounted one on my road bike. I like being able to check behind me, but I've wondered if the sunglass-mounted one contributes to neck pain on long rides, because I have to put my head in a certain position--generally a little up and left of where it otherwise would be--to see directly behind. I haven't managed to find a more comfortable configuration that doesn't point the mirror at my shoulder.

So I've thought about getting some kind of handlebar-mounted mirror for my road bike instead. Though maybe I should ask some people who use the Take-A-Look and see if there's a trick I haven't thought of.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:55 PM   #17
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The cynic in me believes that a mirror is just another example of the ongoing trend toward substituting equipment for skill.

The rational me, though, says that plenty of people find mirrors helpful and there's no valid reason not to use one.

I personally don't use one and see no need to. I can turn my head without affecting my bike and believe the Calvin's Challenge bit about "From the time you turn around and look to see if it clear, the situation can change by the time make your turn. This limits your sight line to vehicles coming up from behind and their ability to see you until it is too late" is donkey stupid and screams of incompetence.

YMM, as always, V.
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Old 04-25-08, 02:56 AM   #18
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I loves me some mirror!! I have one on my helmet(s) at all times. In fact, I went running the other day and caught my eyes scanning for the mirror that would have been there if my helmet was on.

The thing I espcecially like about having a mirror is the ability to take the full lane or not as the situation changes. I ride alone on a lot of 2 lane roads, some with wide shoulders, some not. I like being able to take stock of cars in front and back at the same time, as that may dictate how much of the lane I take. If I wait until I hear a car, it's too late to make positional changes without becoming unpredictable.

I've never had a problem with it causing a blindspot, mine might be set up higher than others.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:30 AM   #19
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Listening and looking back work well most of the time but it begins to fall down when dealing with a headwind or very quiet things catching up with you like hybrid cars and other cyclists. Nothing worse having a conversation about Bill's poor dating choices when one of Bill's choices has quietly pedaled up behind you.
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Old 04-25-08, 09:36 PM   #20
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Maybe I'm just getting old, but I like mine in crowded situations and busy roads during centuries and such.

Sure, I look back, but I check the mirror a lot more often than I'm wanting to turn around.

Big bonus: Keeping an eye on my sweet wife and making sure I don't drop her without her seeing me spin around every 30 seconds or so, which would just annoy her.
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Old 04-26-08, 09:15 AM   #21
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I have a helmet mounted mirror that I swear by. I think it is the "Third Eye Pro" that I have supper glued to my helmet. I have found that the "Sweet spot" for the mirror puts my blind spot above the horizon and yet I can still see clearly behind me.

I swear by the helmet mirror because I can scan forwards and backwards at almost the same time. when I scan backwards, I only rotate my head a few degrees while looking at the mirror, and I'll be able to scan almost everything behind me.

My only complaint about helmet mirrors is that I have a blind spot to my immediate right and left. once a car is within 10 feet of my left rear side, I can't see them until the are just abreast of me. that is the only reason I want to get a barend mirror.

For the days when the mirror is not in the sweet spot, I just simply move my head however is best to get it out of the way. Afterwards, I adjust it when practical.

BTW, there is no such thing as "no vibration," only reduced vibrations. My third Eye's label says vibration free, but it is only when the head isn't vibrating. The head doesn't vibrate unless the spine isn't vibrating, and the spine vibrates whenever the hands or the butt get exposed to road buzz.

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Old 04-26-08, 02:18 PM   #22
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I have supper glued to my helmet.
I once vomited in a road race and had breakfast glued to my helmet. I washed it off later, though.
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Old 04-26-08, 02:32 PM   #23
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Always, attached to my glasses. I can't imagine riding without it. Very helpful in knowing what is 100 yards or 1/2 mile behind you.
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Old 04-30-08, 02:13 PM   #24
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Totally essential IMO. I have a take-a-look mirror mounted to sunglasses which I much prefer to my old mirror on the end of my drops which was often obscured by my arm or vibrating around. I also like this mirror because I can gently sweep my head and see the whole roadway.

Even if you aren't riding on busy roads, its great for spotting you aren't getting too far ahead of your riding buddies. If you are riding on busy roads, I find it most useful for two lane high speed busy rural roads with no shoulder. You can tell without looking back if the car behind is going to give you enough clearance or not and if not bail onto the soft gravel shoulder. (almost always they will though)

In the city its great for an early warning system of aggressive drivers, extra confidence for taking narrow lanes, adjusting speed to find a good groove for then merging a couple lanes over, (where I still shoulder check to actually move over).

Its completely within the peripheral vision and so you have to consciously decide to look there to look back, it is not in the way at all. If you find it in the way you probably don't have it adjusted properly. I've had people come up behind me I didn't expect as I am not always glancing at the mirror.

Would you drive a car without a rear view mirror only checking your shoulder when you wanted to change lanes? Of course not. Ears help being on a bicycle but sometimes the cars are too quiet and the ambient noise too loud.
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Old 04-30-08, 02:20 PM   #25
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Yes, I use a mirror ("Take-a-look" I think). It's permanently attached to my helmet. Don't know that it's saved my hide yet, but ya never know. Also, riding a recumbent makes it nigh on impossible to turn my head and look behind, but I started using a mirror before I started riding a 'bent. Just that a 'bent makes it almost a necessity. And with the mirror, I'm FAR more aware of what's behind me than I ever was without it.

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