The main reason I wear a helmet is because I really like having a rear-view mirror. I’ve used several mirrors over the years, and I definitely prefer the kind that mount in the vicinity of my left eye over models that mount on the handlebars.
I’ve been using a HubBub Helmet Mirror for about three months, and it’s definitely my favorite of all the types I’ve tried.
(Read this if you are wondering why I would choose to look like a dork with so many accessories on my helmet.)
When I don’t wear a helmet, what causes me the most anxiety is not having the ability to see ahead and behind at the same time — more than the sense that I should have a Styrofoam shell on my head as a defense against the steel menaces (a.k.a. cars) with which I mingle in traffic.
Before I started wearing contact lenses, I had a mirror that mounted to the arm of my glasses. I’d leave it on during the day as I sat at my workstation with my back to my office door. My co-workers would walk in, and I’d forget that the polite thing to do would be to turn around and face them.
I could see them just fine, and the looks on their faces said, What a jerk.
After that, I developed a fondness for the helmet-mounted CycleAware Reflex Mirror, with its Gumby-like arm, and the ability to rotate up like a periscope for extra dork factor. The problems I had with that model was it’s constant need for adjustment after any sort of vibration episode. And the mirror itself had a tendency to pop off the arm whenever I stored my helmet anywhere. It’s kind of a priss that way. Nonetheless, it was my favorite design — until I got to try the HubBub Helmet Mirror.
At first I thought it was too big, so I mounted it to my helmet without removing the CycleAware mirror. It’s actually not that much bigger, but the size and shape make a big difference. It’s in that Goldilocks zone between too small, and too big.
The attachment arm is made from a bicycle spoke (a DT Swiss 14 Gauge Champion, for any wheel-building geeks out there). It doesn’t have the Gumby flexibility I was used to, but once I have it adjusted, it freakin’ stays adjusted.
The mounting end of the arm is rubberized to grip the helmet without glue or a designated mounting point. I mounted it to my Lazer helmet, with extra-thick foam where the integrated visor meets the shell.
Then, with a little bending, shaping and squeezing, I mounted it to my ragged old Bell helmet. That fancy Swiss spoke supposedly can take a lot of bending and re-bending. I was encouraged by HubBub not to be the least bit shy.
Yesterday I mentioned that my co-workers had started calling me “Cyborg” because of all the accessories I have on my Bell Helmet.
I enlisted them to help me photograph an inside-the-helmet perspective of the HubBub mirror.
Allow me introduce you.
In the mirror is Robert, who giggles a lot — a lot — and is willing to conspire on and/or escalate any stupid idea I have for a blog post. He was helping me to make sure the GoPro camera lens was visible in the mirror.
In front of me is Robin, who is a little more reserved. One day, he’ll be the kind of parent who is constantly telling his kids, You’re not going out dressed like that! When this photo was taken, he was in the middle of saying to me, “You’re the weirdest person in the universe.”
And this is what I looked like in the bathroom mirror as I was figuring out how to mount the camera to my face before I went out for a ride.
With the camera covering my left eye — my good eye — I went out and played in traffic on Route 66, seeing with only my not-so-good eye. The camera was taking a photo every two seconds.
It goes without saying, I couldn’t see very well, and couldn’t see the mirror at all.
(This is exactly the kind of adrenaline sport for which the GoPro camera was invented.)
And it turned out that out of about 400 photos, none of them were very good.
So I faked a photo (just a little) to give you an idea of why I love mirrors — and the HubBub mirror in particular.
Some people would rather not know what’s coming up behind them — the same kind of people who won’t check their bank account because they might find out they’re out of money. Me? I like to see behind me without having to do a full head check. It allows me, among other things, to claim the lane with much more confidence.
If you mingle with traffic, you’ll get used to a rear-view mirror really quickly — and then you’ll feel insecure without one.
The HubBub Helmet mirror sells for $29 from HubBub Custom Bicycles of Chesterland, Ohio.