Friday, June 30, 2006

New rear-view mirror

After my crap ride to work 2 days ago, which was followed by a crap ride home where I got stung by a wasp (or something), I was waiting for the third thing to go wrong. I'm not superstitious, but what can I say? It crossed my mind.

While on my way to the Cycling Cog Toronto bike ride, a woman in a smallish car zipped past me too close. She about a foot away from me. At the red light, I rode up beside her (as usual), and told her she passed me too close. She had an angry look on her face. Her response: "You almost hit me! You were riding like this far out into the road!" She indicates about a 2 foot length with her hands. She was visibly shocked to hear that cyclists can use the whole lane if they need to, and she didn't believe me. My attempts to teach her went on, but some students just aren't very receptive. Basically, the conversation didn't go well after the "you almost hit me" part.

I did some accessorizing last night. I bought a bar-end rear view mirror, which I installed along with some new yellow handlebar tape. I thought the yellow tape would look intense and serious. I'm not sure if it just looks a bit dorky. I'm not sold on the rear view mirror yet either.

That's all for now. Enjoy celebrating Canada Day, if you're in this fine country! And in case I don't write anything before July 4th, congratulations to any American readers on your independence from us! I like your country too.

Darren J 6/30/2006 10:09:00 a.m.


Are you able to get the mirror adjusted to a useful position? I find with the bar end mirror my arm brushes it when in the drops so it never stays positioned anywhere. I do wish there wasn't the pervasive mentality among many non-cycling drivers that cyclists belong in the gutter. I swear some drivers (that have lots of room to do otherwise) just buzz too close to "instruct" cyclists or something.
The mirror is mostly pointing the right way. I see a lot of my left pannier though. I see such a small portion of the road that it's difficult to get a real sense of what's going on behind me. I'd prefer a mirror that was higher up, but attaching that would be messy.

I do think some drivers are trying to instruct us using their size. Sad.
Have you tried one of the helmet-mounted mirrors? I used to used a bar-end mirror, but it kept on vibrating (or something) out of position. With the helmet-mount, I get about the same amount of view, but it doesn't shift around, and as an added bonus, I can tilt and turn my head to scan around the road behind me.

More on-topic, I don't think I've ever managed to instruct a driver when I'm on my cycle. I think I might switch to a friendly wave and a smile. Perhaps they'll be a little happier, and still notice me, or perhaps not, but I think they'll learn the same amount either way.
I agree with Blake. Try a helmet mirror. I've been using one for a couple of years and I love it.

Took a little bit of getting used to positioning it properly, but in my opinion it definitely gives a better field of view than a handlebar mirror.
are you biking to Ottawa today?
I Like your country too! I love being in Ottawa on Canada Day and a very Happy one for you too! We took a tour of the Peace Tower as well as the Hof C and the Second Chamber. We'll see you when you get here.
I use a helmet mirror, as I use bar-end shifters on my road bike. It is somewhat useful, as it does give you a little warning about what is behind you. At the very least, you'll be able to shoulder-check if you see a potential threat. The field of view is very small though.
I use the same mountain bike mirror on all my bikes and they HAVE saved my life more than once I have one in the drops on the Pinarello and yes it does make contact with my wrist when in the drops but I am seldom bothered by it , but some won't use mirrors or helmets ,personal choice I guess but with today's traffic I use them to increase my chances,
Great trip. In the event that you do this ride again I thought I'd pass this url over to you.

Last year when I cycled to Montreal I used this cyclists routing. It's probably not the quickest route but it was relatively safe and scenic.

My commute to work, like yours, is plus or minus an hour. I would not want to do it without a mirror. Over the years I have tried most of the suggestions mentioned in the other comments and finally found one that works for me. Mirrors are great. I hope that you find one that works for you. Safe riding...

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