Say what you will about my fashion sense (and plenty has been said about it), but I’ve found a sparkly new accessory that I just can’t live without.
A rear-view mirror.
You know, one of those super-nerdy contraptions that stick out of your helmet? There’s one guy I almost always pass on the trail who’s cycling gear reminds me of some futuristic military garb. His mirror is always glinting just over his left eye, and I’ve taken to referring to him as the Borg in my head.
I’ve been assimilated.
All of my close calls while commuting have been from behind. Speeding semis, cars and Metro busses that simply haven’t seen me, no matter how many blinkies and neon vests I wear. I’d become quite adept at looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was coming, then checking constantly as they approached to make sure they were going to change lanes, rather than simply planning to barrel through me.
It was nerve-wracking, to say the least.
I finally pestered Rob into getting me a rear view mirror. Keeping in character with his love of bike parts, he actually brought me two—a Reflex and Third Eye. I decided to try the Third Eye first, and we got it stuck on the helmet—easy, since it just attaches with a adhesive sticker.
After some trial and error in getting it positioned correctly, using the rear-view became second nature. It’s helped me relax, which has made me actually look forward to my commute again. Well, that and the increasing daylight. Oh, and the fact that I’ve decided to stick to the sidewalk until I get to the Green River Trail.
Metro can’t harass you on the sidewalk.
My new mirror also helps me perform my latest favorite defensive cycling technique: The Weave. When I notice that someone’s coming up behind me without changing lanes, I weave back and forth across my lane a couple of times. That has the dual effect of helping them to notice that they’re about to run over a cyclist, as well as worrying them that I’m out of control and they should give me a wide berth.
The last thing a driver wants is for some crazed, unstable cyclist to crash into their Lexus and scratch the newly-waxed paint job.
So far this has been 100% effective in getting people to actually give me space—way more effective than simply taking the lane, since cars would just drift partway into the left lane, still brushing by me at 45mph.
Overall, I’m pleased with the new setup.
Have any of you tried rear-view mirrors? Or any other nerdy cycling accessory that you now find you can’t live without? Do tell.