Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve spent the majority of my cycling life as a bit of an elitist wannabe who looked down my nose at a lot of the gadgets that people use to make biking more comfortable for themselves. While I’m lightyears away from a padded gel saddle cover or bolting on a kickstand (that’ll just never happen), I’ve had so many brushes with cars lately that I bought myself a bar-end bike mirror. Oh, how I wish I’d done it years ago!
That angry motor sound behind you
I really just can’t fathom why it is that cyclists on the road seem to illicit such fury from drivers. I mean motorists encounter delays all the time ranging from simple red lights, school buses, and construction zones, but the few seconds it takes to pass us safely is treated by many as a completely unacceptable hindrance that they’d make downright illegal if they could. The expression of this rage usually takes the form of pressing the accelerator to the floor to make the motor roar and then seeing just how close they can edge by just to let you know how much you’ve ruined their otherwise sunny commute. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the severity of this passive-aggressive behavior and vehicle size—as in large diesel 4WD king-cab pickup trucks—so there’s probably some repressed anger about the dimensions of their wedding tackle mixed in there too.
Why a bike mirror helps
There’s a reason why runners run against the flow of traffic when they’re forced to run next to a road. It’s so they can see what’s coming and leap out of the way if they have to. The thing I hate most about road cycling by myself is not having any awareness of what’s going on behind me other than what my ears tell me. Yes, you can turn your head and look back, but that often causes you to turn slightly to the left and potentially steer into the path of a vehicle zooming past. I’m not suggesting for a second that having a mirror will give you the time you need to get out of the path of a distracted driver who just doesn’t see you, but being able to simply look down and get the picture is a bigger plus for me mentally when riding than I ever anticipated.
Why I especially like the Sprintech Road Drop Bar Rearview Mirror
I think one of the reasons that bar-end mirrors kinda got a bad rap at the beginning was the first and best ones made by Blackburn were round and quite large. They worked great but just weren’t very sexy or aerodynamic. Helmet-mounted mirrors also work really well—but again—not too sexy.
By comparison, the Sprintech mirror I just purchased has a pleasing and slightly smaller form factor that’s more aerodynamic, and yet I’ve found I can see everything behind me I want to see.
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There are right and left mirrors available as sets, but I’ve found all I need is the left one. The simple plastic plug design fits almost any size bar and I was surprised how well the ball joint connection keeps the mirror in place on bumpy roads while still allowing for quick adjustments on the fly.