|Jonathan and Jim Just Before Iowa Hill|
While I was absorbed with making the turn and catching back up with the main group, I hadn’t realized a car was approaching from behind (I didn’t hear it) and it was about to pass me. As I was about to start the turn I did a routine check by glancing in my rear-view mirror and spotted the car. Fortunately, I have developed a habit of checking my mirror when turning.
If I had not had that mirror, I doubt I would have looked over my shoulder and noticed the car. The result would have been a bad crash and it would have been my fault. So yeah, that dorky mirror helped me avoid an accident.
Many riders use a mirror. There are ones that mount on sunglasses (what I use), helmet mounted and even ones that mount on the end of your handlebars. I prefer the first two as I can move my head left to right and scan a wide area behind me.
The mirror provides a major boost to situational awareness. The 180 degrees of view behind you is now available and can provide a greater insight to your ride environment.. You can see cars approaching, evaluate how tight the riders behind you are aligned and maybe even gain a little satisfaction in watching a few riders drop behind you on a climb. On the rare times I forget my mirror, I feel awkward and partially blind.
I had the opportunity to talk to Chris Mumma, one of the most prolific riders in Cycle Folsom, about his experience with a mirror. Chris says, "a mirror has become an integral part of my cycling and I feel naked without it." After a review of our shared experiences with a mirror, he talked of an instance where the mirror was invaluable in preventing a accident. Chris added, "I was riding a performance ride and we were overtaking a slower rider (not a Cycle Folsom rider) and a rider behind me neglected to follow the paceline, attempting to pass on the left into traffic. Fortunately, I was able to spot him before we collided. "
Give a mirror a try. It might not "look pro", but it will open up your range of views and increase your situational awareness.