A rearview mirror is one of the best things you can do to improve your safety while bike touring.
Just like in a car, a rearview mirror lets you see at a glance what’s coming up behind you, and react accordingly if a car is going too quickly, or not giving enough space as it passes.
Which mirror should you choose? Our favourite is the Take A Look mirror, but no single mirror is perfect for everyone. Some prefer helmet-mounted mirrors, others like a mirror that goes on the bicycle and in each category there are many different designs.
Here are a few options to consider, based on reader recommendations and online reviews.
#1. Take A Look Mirror – Our personal favourite. It’s effective, durable and very light. The mirror mounts on either helmets or sunglasses. Getting it to just the right position can be tricky, but once you find the ‘sweet spot’ you’ll wonder how you ever cycled without it. Cost: ($13.90 from CycloCamping or $16.95 from REI) Read our full review.
#2. Mirrycle Mirror – This mirror fits in the end of your handlebars – not on your helmet or sunglasses – and comes in two versions. One for road bikes and fits on the end of Shimano STI shifter/brake levers, while the other is designed for mountain bikes and fits into the ends of flat handlebars. Cost: ($20 for the road bike version and $18 for the mountain bike version) from REI.
#3. Ortlieb Ultralite Mirror – For a mirror that mounts on your bicycle, this one is feather light at just 2 ounces or 56 grams. It’s made by the same company that makes the famous Ortlieb panniers, and the manufacturers claim that it’s easy to place anywhere on your bike, including your forks or on recumbent bicycles. Here’s one raving review about the Ortlieb Ultralite Mirror from RJ, who cycled the TransAmerica Trail, and a post that shows how one cyclist mounted it on his handlebars. Cost: $23.90 from CycloCamping.
#4. Blackburn Multi Mirror – This one gets mixed reviews. Some people love it; others say it was too big to fit into the ends of their bicycle handlebars, and that they had to use a knife to shave away some of the plastic and make it fit. One nice feature of the Blackburn mirror is that it folds away when not in use, or when you’re trying to squeeze through a tight spot. Cost: £13.49 from Wiggle.
#5. Messenger Mirror – This is a very compact and affordable mirror that will mount on your sunglasses. It’s made by a cyclist in Idaho, and measures just 6-1/2″ long, with a mirror that’s 1/2″ across at the end of the wire. The catch is that the guy who makes the Messenger Mirror will only ship to U.S. addresses. Cost: $5.99 plus 88 cents for postage.
There’s also the 3rd Eye Mirror (for handlebars), and the CycleAware Heads Up mirror (for helmets and sunglasses) but we’ve heard a lot of durability concerns about these mirrors. They obviously work for some people but seem a little too fragile for our tastes.