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Mirrors = S-L-O-W?(42 posts)

Mirrors = S-L-O-W?TypeOne
Jan 17, 2002 9:14 PM
Why have I never been passed by a cyclist with mirrors on their bar ends? In fact, if I come up behind another rider on training rides, group rides and commutes, they oftentimes have a mirror. Really, I'm not a hardcore speed demon or bike snob; I ride a crummy Allez with full fenders and lights most of the time--but no mirror, because I find it unnecessary. I have to wonder if they would slow me down. Those mirrors must weigh 40 lbs. because their owners are so pokey out there :)More likely the riders are slow so they want to be able to see who is barrelling up behind them, right?
There must be some speedy cyclists with mirrors out there!
re: Mirrors = S-L-O-W?fuzzybunnies
Jan 17, 2002 10:00 PM
I had a mirror once and am reasonably fast. Quickly learned why someone with ADD shouldn't have a mirror on a bike. What ever was in the mirror couldn't ave been as important as the stopped car in front of me. Never gonna use a mirror again on my bikes. Russ
Same here, only it was a pedestrian...John-d
Jan 18, 2002 3:18 AM
that materialised in front of me, he must have just beamed down from a star ship.
Cycleaware Viewpoint MirrorsPoulidor
Jan 18, 2002 6:33 AM
The Cycleaware Viewpoint mirrors are about the size of a pencil eraser and stick to the inside of your cycling glasses. They are great and don't require you to look down. Besides that, they weigh just a few grams, are much more aerodynamic and best of all... stealthy. Think how much faster you could be!!!
I tried those with little success...biknben
Jan 18, 2002 8:46 AM
It's a great little product but it didn't work with my Oakleys. The lens curves too much and is too close to my face to get the right angle on the mirror. All I was able to see was the strap of my helmet and wax in my ear. :-)

If your lens has the proper shape, this mirror is great. I wasn't willing to get rid of my Oakleys to accomodate the mirror.
Cycleaware Viewpoint MirrorsSnowBlind
Jan 18, 2002 10:56 AM
Even worse!
You gotta look right to see left, and left to check right, throwing off those behind that have to calculate where you are headed.

How 'bout do don't trust the fricken' mirrors at all, like a real pilot, and turn your damn lazy head!
I know a fewDog
Jan 18, 2002 6:43 AM
Not the bar end type, but helmet or glasses types I've seen used by Seana Hogan, Cassie Lowe, Tim Coleman, and John Hughes, each of whom could kick any of our butts any day on long rides. Seana is the transcontinental women's record holder and 5 time RAAM women's champion, Cassie two time women's champion (and 4th over all), Tim has set records at many of the California doubles, and John is a 508 champion and RAAM vet, and an ultra distance coach in Boulder. I've seen many more.

Mirrors like these tend to be used by serious long distance riders, who realize their benefit and couldn't give crap what anyone thinks, as they are not pretending to be Euro pro racers.

Would like to try the glasses mounting type...Lone Gunman
Jan 18, 2002 7:05 AM
but have subscribed to the Italian School of Driving notion; "Whatsa behinda mea not impotante" Once upon a time I had a Rhode Gear hood mounted mirror. The mount was of some type of metal, and the vibrations from the road just about made the using the mirror worthless. You could see a big blob in the mirror when a vehicle was coming up behind you, that was about it. One day I had a slow speed crash that I ended up with a broken wrist and during the crash that mirror snapped off and left a jagged dagger of the mount sticking out from the brake hood. Had my wrist hit that dagger it would have been a bloody mess. No more bike mounted mirrors for me.
Take a LookDog
Jan 18, 2002 7:20 AM
The Take a Look has no vibration. I tried helmet mounts, and did not like them. The Take a Look works perfectly, one of those few products that actually does what it purports to, well, at low cost, and with no drawbacks.

Another glasses mountKEN2
Jan 18, 2002 8:42 AM
Another glasses-mount mirror that works well is the Rivendell (comes in two types, one for wire rim earpiecw and one for plastic). It only pivots in the horizontal plane--you bend it until it gives you the correct view vertically. I like it better than Take a Look because it's smaller (actually it's shaped like a stop sign), but still gives a good view behind.
where to buy those online?colker
Jan 18, 2002 11:54 AM
no lbs around selling mirrors... thanks
where to buy those online?KEN2
Jan 18, 2002 1:19 PM
The Rivendell (my favorite) is actually hand made by Chuck Harris:

I'd recommend the glasses type (there are two) rather than the helmet mount. also has the Take a Look along with others. Try a search "mirror."
I'm no racer, but ...tarwheel
Jan 18, 2002 6:54 AM
My mirror doesn't keep me from hanging on most group rides, and I have no problems keeping an 18-20 mph pace on hilly roads. If my mirror slows me down, so be it. I'd rather ride 0.00001 mph slower than get flattened by an SUV or semi. The trick to riding with a mirror is not to be obsessed with it -- just a glance every now and then to make sure you're not about to be flattened.

Incidentally, one of the best reasons to use a mirror is to avoid collisions with other cyclists. On group rides, I am really surprised more cyclists don't use mirrors. I can't think of how many times another cyclist or group has come speeding past without announcing themselves -- and you generally can't hear another bike approaching like you can with a car or truck. I briefly rode without a mirror for a few weeks last summer when my mirror at the time got busted. On a metric century ride, a newbie rider started drafting me (unawares to me), lost his concentration, got too close to my rear wheel, bumped me and then went down. All I felt was a bump but he totally wiped out -- destroying his helmet, jersey, shorts and leaving him with a major case of road rash. If I had been using a mirror at the time, I may have noticed how close he was drafting and either sped up or told him to back off a little.

We periodically have debates about mirrors on this board. If you don't care to use one, fine. Myself, I prefer all the tools I can get to make cycling safer. I've been riding for 30 years and I've never had a wreck, crash or been hit by a car. During that time, I've nearly always used a mirror. Enough said.
mirrors in group rides....mixinbeatz
Jan 18, 2002 7:42 AM
I think many racers/club riders are uncomfortable when someone shows up at a group ride with mirrors. Riding in a group makes you much more visible to vehicles and in general they give you more room. Part of the skill of riding in a group is not freaking out when people fly by you very close, the idea of group riding is to hold your line and be predictable. The second you are looking down at your mirror is about all the time it takes to bump the wheel in front of you and to take down the whole group. From then on you will be that "yahoo with mirrors that took down the group on the bridge,". For touring, I use a mirror, in a group, I don't think that the benifits outweigh the potential danger.
image vs. common sensetarwheel
Jan 18, 2002 11:00 AM
I am continually surprised by the number of cyclists who seemed to be more concerned with their image than with safety, comfort or common sense. I thought cyclists were supposed to be the independent sort? Whenever discussions like this come up (substitute handlebar height, saddle comfort, bright clothes) there is a certain contingent who seem to be more concerned about how they look in group rides than other more important issues. I assure you that my mirror causes no hazards in group rides and probably has prevented a few mishaps.

The split second it takes to glance at a mirror is meaningless in terms of any danger it poses. As far as riding in a pace line, I am very familiar with riding in a group and I think a mirror is helpful. What about the situations where you are at the front of the line and you just want to make sure the group is staying intact? What about when you're at the front and you're ready to pull out because you're ready to drop to the back? Have you ever had some "yahoos" start sprinting toward a county line sign just as you're about to pull out and drop back? I have, and my mirror is what prevented an unfortunate mess. Finally, just because someone has a mirror doesn't mean that they have ditched their other senses (such as hearing), it just adds another dimension.
Mirrors and pacelinesDCP
Jan 18, 2002 8:06 AM
One of the fastest riders in my club is one of the few who uses a mirror.

I have tried the Cycleaware button mirror and now, for one ride, the Take a Look mirror.

The button mirror, at least with my glasses, requires a good head turn to see traffic behind and, at least for me, required several moments concentrated looking to figure out what was in that little image. Probably fine for solo rides, but I worried that I was looking at it too long for a paceline. Wish they would make bigger one or one that was larger vertically.

The Take a Look also requires some concentrated looking, but not as much. Really helpful when you are the last rider and responsible for calling traffic behind. You just back off a bit in the line and watch the mirror more frequently.
Mirrors = N-O-T R-U-N O-V-E-R (nm)cory
Jan 18, 2002 8:13 AM
Sense of Hearing...Brooks
Jan 18, 2002 8:52 AM
In the 30 years of riding, I have never crashed, been run over, or used a mirror. I already know when a vehicle is approaching from sound. Would seeing it help? Maybe, maybe not. Would I know the intent of the driver? No. Has anyone with a mirror purposefully ridden into a ditch (images of Jan Ullrich come to mind) when they thought a driver might be coming up from behind and too close? I don't know, but probably. They might have caused more injury to themselves by riding into the ditch. Too many variables for me, not to mention the lack of concentration on what's ahead of me. If someone wants to run me over, I'm not sure I want to know it's about to happen. A cyclist I knew years ago got into an altercation with a redneck with a pickup who chased the guy through the front yards of several houses. Fortunately, a homeowner was on the porch and saw the whole thing. The redneck got jailtime for attempted manslaughter.

Ride in peace,
Sense of Hearing...KEN2
Jan 18, 2002 9:22 AM
A common misunderstanding is that mirrors are for avoiding a hit from the rear. Despite a few high-profile reported cases, statistically that is a very minor possibility (I've seen from 1-4% of bicycle accidents reported as hit from the rear).

The real usefulness of a mirror comes when riding in any kind of traffic situation, or where you need to turn frequently and move laterally within a lane, or change lanes. Saves all that head turning. Do you use the mirrors on your car to change lanes? Same on a bike, except there are no blind spots to check from the bike--you can scan everything behind with a simple 20 degree sweep of the head using a single mirror.

If you're just hammering down a country road, I agree, mirrors aren't very useful.
Saves all the head turning? Oh! an economist!tempeteKerouak
Jan 18, 2002 10:07 AM
Not using your mirrors to change lanes is against all driving classes manuals.

It is required that you turn you head to avoid any surprises in "dead angles". Apparently, jet fighters do turn their heads too, so I am told.

If you drive and change lanes without turning your head, you are probably the one everybody honks at. You should not operate a motor vehicule.

Never trust a mirror.
Saves all the head turning? Oh! an economist!KEN2
Jan 18, 2002 11:13 AM
You seem to have a difficult time with understanding what's actually written vs. what you want to see... you miss my entire point that there are no "dead angles" as you call them, with a bicycle mirror. Since your argument is based on avoiding blind spots, it is moot where bicycles are concerned.

And indeed it's very possible especially on smaller cars to adjust the mirrors farther "out" so that blind spots (and head turning) are eliminated there too.
Sense of Hearing...SnowBlind
Jan 18, 2002 11:09 AM
Much lower actually, .3% according to John Forester, Effective Cycling, sixth edition.
Now that is Motorist caused overtaking from rear, in daylight.
4% if you include nighttime.
It jumps to about %10 if you include the ones caused by cyclists error as well.
Your fellow cyclist is about 17% total. So by and large, the guy your ride with is more likely to cause an accident than you getting run over by a car from behind.
I will point out that the real threat is that the mortality rate is higher.
The other minor problem is that being ridden off the road trying to AVOID the dumb bastards is also not included.

For what it is worth, I have only one incident in three years with a motorist doing dumb stuff, and that was this morning. A sharp yell and a pound on the door straitend him out.
Another point for turning your head....Brooks
Jan 18, 2002 1:23 PM
and looking (mirrors or not) when changing lanes is that is a first signal to a motorist that you may be coming into traffic. Use hand signals, too, but I like to look at the drivers and try to make eye contact. Can't really do that with mirrors. While I have never used a mirror, or seen reason to, Dog makes some good points worth considering.

Another point for turning your head....KEN2
Jan 18, 2002 1:33 PM
Seems to me that most drivers, few of whom have cycled since childhood, are more likely to interpret a head turn (which has no significance in driver's ed. or manuals like hand signals do) as "OK, you've seen my car, now I know you'll get out of my way." And making eye contact at several hundred feet through their tinted glass (and your sunglasses... you do wear protective glasses?) is hopeless anyway.
Useless mirror?tempeteKerouak
Jan 18, 2002 9:16 AM
Apparently there are some really good reason to have a mirror. And I don't know them. I worry about what's in front and keeping my by in the right direction. I don't stress about what's coming behind because I hear and turn around. What can I do if the driver passes by to fast or too close. How can a mirror help? Too much stress for me.

But he's why you don't see many fast rider equipped with mirrors. He's a new theory...

To go fast you need to be experienced and fit.
If you're fit, chances are you maintain a better shape.
If you are in a better shape, you have no problem turning around to look behind you. Or to tie your shoe, for that matter.

I see no point in a mirror.
Useless mirror?KEN2
Jan 18, 2002 9:35 AM
OK, so how come racing cars and fighter jets have rear-view mirrors? Could it be that it's a lot simpler and more effective to glance in the mirror than to do a full head turn? And if you're so worried about what's in front of you, I have news... you're taking your eyes off what's in front much longer to do a head turn than you ever do using a mirror. In fact, since you only use a single eye with a bike mirror, your peripheral vision in the right eye still picks up some information about what's coming up even during the split second that you're focused on the mirror.

Seems to me that most non-mirror users are operating out of ignorance--they see no point in a mirror because they've never tried and become adept at using one.
Of fighter jets and hockey players?tempeteKerouak
Jan 18, 2002 10:01 AM
So basically you take for granted that I've never used one.
Except that you base your argumentation on the fact that fighter jets and racing cars have them.

For you information I would like to specify that I do drive a car equipped with both lateral mirrors and a rear view dash mirror. I use all of them. I still don't get your point through the comparison? My wife also carries a mirror for make-up. And I use one for shaving. Apparently, dentists find them usefull too.

What am I suppose to do; look through my little mirror, see the big truck and press eject?

I totally understand your peripheral vision thing. Fair enough. I just don't subscribe to it. No, I don't think they are usefull. I don't use a mirror to play hochey. And that's more like the fighter jet thing. Believe me.
Of fighter jets and hockey players?KEN2
Jan 18, 2002 10:56 AM
My entire argument is not based on jets and racing cars--those were illustrations of the argument. And I chose them purposely because they are parallel in the world of high-performance vehicles to your argument that says basically, fast and fit bike riders don't use mirrors, end of story.

And my reference to those who haven't used and become adept at mirrors refers, of course, to bike mirrors--I never assumed you didn't use your car mirrors.

P.S. I don't buy the comparison with hockey...

And finally, the obvious difference between all the mirrors I refer to and your wife's makeup mirror (and your shaving mirror), is that mine are all vehicle mirrors--the others are stationary.

To make my point in the most direct way: users of other vehicles of all types find mirror use advantageous--doesn't that suggest something about bicycles/bicyclists use of mirrors? Or don't you consider your bike a vehicle?
Jan 18, 2002 10:14 AM
There is a definite leap in logic there, but I'll point out some reasons, confining the discussion to my experience.

The mirror allows me to see behind with only a slight movement of the head. In so doing, I can still see what's a head, too, including other cyclists, the road, and cars. It's really more of a deviation of focus than anything.


*You can see cars approching from the rear; this has several benefits:

*You can help to avoid getting hit by moving over if cars are too close;

*You can remain more out in the road if cars are not coming, and move over only when necessary; in my experience, I get fewer flat tires, get a more comfortable ride, and can ride faster on the smoother pavement.

*You can see other cyclists approaching or falling off; have you ever been riding with others in a paceline, only to turn around and see them 100 yards behind, but not intending to pull away? With a mirror, you can stay together more easily. If you are competing, you can tell when someone is approaching, motivating you to stay ahead. Even if riding solo, it allows you to move over and allow others to pass more safely, just like in a car; it's courteous, too.

*The wife feels better knowing I'm using it. That's worth something.

reasons; sold. I buy that. Still do the same without. But agreedtempeteKerouak
Jan 18, 2002 10:17 AM
Useless mirror?Iseemo
Jan 18, 2002 3:56 PM
Useless to, I have no desire to ride with anyone with a mirror. I'd rather they pay attention to anyone in front or beside them rather than trying to anticipate what someone or something behind them is going to do.
Wish I could wear one.MB1
Jan 18, 2002 10:28 AM
No left eye. Putting a glasses mirror on the right side takes up too much of my limited field of vision.

I keep trying them though. Miss M ALWAYS wears an eyelgass mounted mirror-so I ask her if cars are coming when I want to make a lane change. Then I look, no reason to take chances.

I do notice that experienced riders with mirrors often ride farther from the shoulder than I do. Inexperienced riders with mirrors swing all over the road while trying to look in their mirrors.

Don't really miss the left eye but I do wish I could find a mirror that would work for me.
How about the look...Lone Gunman
Jan 18, 2002 11:28 AM
between the legs one. Set at an angle that looks behind you by looking down at the head tube area?
Similar problem (though not exactly).......Len J
Jan 18, 2002 1:30 PM
I am legally blind in my left eye. I wish I could find something that would work for me. My only option is to turn my head all the way around to see back out of my right ey. Doing this while not drifting left is hard.

If you find something, let me know.

I've noticed that...tempeteKerouak
Jan 18, 2002 1:38 PM
We always tend to drift to the side we turn to.

Ex: looking over left shoulder makes you drift left, which is back in the traffic lane as the vehicule will pass to your left.

Now, depending on the road side you have, try (I do this) looking over the right shoulder. Most people will always look around over the left one. But I reckon it is possible and probably better to turn the head to the right and drift toward the roadside slightly. Sounds silly? Carefully done, should cost nothing to try.
i have a large, chromed, handlebar-mounted 2-lb mirror...Js Haiku Shop
Jan 18, 2002 2:07 PM
...on my cruiser. it complements the compass, bell, and analog speedometer. don't really notice the added weight of the mirror. i've passed litespeeds and kestrels while riding my cruiser, been drafted by dudes on cannondales, and have only been passedby pacelines. this might be due to where and when it's ridden. or it could be my legs of steel.

whitewalls, BIG rubber-coated pedals, rear rack, sectional-couch-sized (sprung) saddle, skull covers on the schrader valves, and 10 reflectors on the rear wheel.
You need to do the 200K with Humma....MB1
Jan 18, 2002 4:06 PM
only about 6000 feet of climbing. You may not finish first but you will get all the style points!
no way i could do more than meters yards with that saddle. nmJs Haiku Shop
Jan 22, 2002 7:57 AM
i'm officially choosing meters. nmJs Haiku Shop
Jan 22, 2002 8:06 AM
Jan 18, 2002 6:29 PM
You guys are all really BORED! I thought this forum was a mild amusement at best during the "season", but now that many of you are doing without riding it is truly a spectacle!

A condensed version of this thread:

Subject A: Mirrors suck!

Subject B: Nu-uh!

Subject A: Yu-huh! Because (insert ridiculous and unsubstantiated reason centered on personal preference followed by silly analogy here)!

Subject B: Yeah? Well you're an idiot! Because (insert counter argument based on preferential and subjective reasoning, coupled with a criticism of Subject A's analogy using slightly modified version of same ridiculous analogy to debunk factless claims)!

Subject C: You're both wrong! And you're both idiots! Due in part to the (insert psuedo-scientific cold fusion theory coupled with sarcastic remark and subsequent "laymens terms" re-explaination of original theory)!

Repeat until 1568 views are achieved, or thread moves to the bottom of the board.


A. (aka Subject D: Bemused and boorish casual observer)
what's really funnylurker
Jan 19, 2002 1:12 PM that all these suggestions- don't use a mirror, listen, turn your head and increase bike handling- were made by some dude a couple of years ago and he just got REAMED. Then Doug Sloan- the God of the board- made the same recommentations last years after some "tests" and everyone jumped on the Slaon-bandwagon. Bunch of sheep.
Don't they all?TypeOne
Jan 19, 2002 8:24 PM
Really, I thought all threads on this board followed that progression! You nailed it. Just glad I could do my part to set the wheels in motion once more.