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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mirror, Mirror, on the Handlebars

I now have a rearview mirror on the bike; I think it's an ex-Mazda door-mount mirror from some early 70's model. Also has anti-glare glass, tinted just a bit, which is something I've never had on any bike mirrors.

Advantage is it's more pivotable than the bicycle mirrors I've had before, and stays in place a lot better, without having to use any adjustment screws. Disadvantage is it wasn't meant for handlebar mounting, but 10 minutes with a hacksaw on an aluminum-handled ex-yard rake gave me a tube to put the mirror on and slip it over the handlebar end. A screw thru the tubes to hold them together, and the old rubber grip slid over the new tube (before mounting anything on it), and it works just like it did before, except now I don't have to turn my head to look behind me as much.

It looks wierd hanging down from the handlebars, but it's that way so I can still flip the bike upside down to service tires/etc when on the road, without having to deal with the mirror, and so it doesn't get in the way of my hands/arms if I turn sharply leftward for any reason. Also easier to see behind me without sticking the mirror way out to the side, since my arms aren't in the way of it.

Yeah, it means I have to direct my gaze farther from the front-and-center, but not nearly as much as if I had to turn my head to look backwards. :)

I used the aluminum tube rather than any of the steel tube I have for one simple reason: If something hits the mirror (like something projecting from a car that passes me too close--it's happened before), since it's tougher than a bike mirror, if it were mounted on steel it probably wouldn't break the mirror mount but instead would turn my handlebars and knock me off the road. Since it's aluminum, and thin at that, the inch or so of aluminum tube (where the mirror is bolted to) that's sticking out beyond the steel handlebar will instead just bend or break, and not be as likely to torque the bars out of my hands or knock me off the road. Still will be a noticeable impact, but I ought to be able to control it, at least.

One more free upgrade to the bike, this time only a few minutes to do, rather than a few hours.

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