Rear View Mirror
Now that I’m commuting by bike more, I’ve found myself becoming a bike gadget geek – especially with safety gear. The irony is that I told myself I would never be one of ‘those’ types of cyclist. For me, riding a bike wasn’t supposed to be that complicated – just get on the bike and go. I didn’t need special clothes or equipment, just my helmet and a destination.
Lately, I’ve been discovering that the reason people use bike gear is because it makes cycling better, especially when it comes to safety. In addition to the skills that I’ve learned from TS 101 and Cycling Savvy, my goal while commuting is to stay visible. Along with my front and back lights, I’ve started wearing a bright orange vest. Maybe it’s psychological, but I really feel that drivers notice me more. It certainly doesn’t hurt.
This last week, I’ve added a new accessory for safety – the rear view mirror. Talk about nerding out, but this thing just screams GEEK! I don’t care. By far, this is one of the best accessories that I’ve added to my bike commute. Sure I can scan, but I prefer to do that when I’m ready to turn or change lanes. Also, my body isn’t as flexible as it used to be. The mirror gives me a quick and effortless read on what’s behind me.
It isn’t just about more visibility with my surroundings. The rear view mirror also gives me a better piece of mind on the road. Part of my stress while riding has always been the uncertainty of what’s behind me. Yes, I’m still in a mode where I’m concerned about minimizing my obstruction of the traffic around me. Because of that, I found myself pushing harder on certain routes and tiring out faster. With the rear view mirror, I’m realizing that most of the traffic behind me, isn’t behind me. This gives me the mental freedom to ride at a manageable pace, conserving my energy for when I actually need it.
I opted for an inexpensive Third Eye mirror that attaches to my sunglasses. It’s pretty lightweight and barely noticeable. Placement can be a bit tricky. When done wrong, it actually creates a blind spot while scanning. Pushing the mirror further away from the lens gives me enough of a gap to fix that. I’m also going to try it mounted on the right side, since I usually scan to the left.
Geeky? Sure. But when I’m riding and folks SEE me and say “LOOK at the nerd on the bike with the flashing lights, bright orange vest and the mirror on his glasses.” – I’m going to think, mission accomplished.