About Cycling Mirrors
Pat Daffarn put a “flea in my ear” at the Russ Mantle 1,000,000 celebration last Thursday. He complimented the Committee on its first aid initiatives, then said “but are we doing enough to prevent accidents in the first place!”, He reminded me of the importance of mirrors, and I recall writing a piece on this back in August 2017. I thought it worthwhile updating and re-publishing the blog.
Phil Hamilton and Bob McLeod introduced me to the Take-a-Look cycling mirror (made by Bike Peddler USA) about 4 years ago and like my helmet, I wouldn’t now ride without it.
Generally bike mirrors fit into five categories:
Frame mounted (e.g. Bike Eye), Handlebar (Cat Eye) , Helmet (EVT Safe Zone), Eye Glasses (Take-a-Look), and Wrist mounted (Rear Viz). Handlebar mirrors are the most popular with a tremendous range of styles to fit all bikes. Prices have generally come down over the last three years and now range from £10 to £15 depending on local supply or imported. The Take-a-Look is readily available from Amazon and costs £13 (incl postage from USA).
The Arguments for and against mirrors:
It’s a subject that generates some passion amongst cyclists. I was concerned at first that the Take-a-Look mirror was close to my right eye and might cause a serious injury if I came off. However this risk seems very low when viewed against the advantages. Another argument against mirrors is the need briefly to take your eyes off the road. Of course, as drivers, we do this all the time. With eye glass mirrors a glance behind requires only the slightest turn of the head. On the other hand a frame mounted mirror requires you to look down and this might take time to get used to.
The criticism against some frame and handlebar mounted mirrors is that they suffer from vibration. One great advantage we have is that so much cycling and equipment experience is close to hand. So if you are thinking of buying a mirror chat to John Child (frame), Pat Daffarn (handlebar), and Rob Clarke, Peter Hackman, Bob and myself (Take-a-Look) for advice. There’s a good review of the pros and cons of different types of mirrors here.
The biggest risk with mirrors is that we might rely too much on them – especially when turning right. There’s no substitute for a life saving look over the shoulder.
In summary, if you don’t already have a mirror, think about treating yourself to one at Xmas. And if you are a regular ride leader or back marker, being able to see what’s going on behind makes a huge difference.