Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Recumbent Ride

On this fine Saturday morning I could have sat myself on the couch and watch some guys race bicycles in France.  No way!  I'm going to ride and besides I have a new helmet mirror to test out.  Last year I lost my helmet mirror and never got around to replacing it until last week.  On a recumbent it is almost impossible to look over your shoulder to get a view of the traffic behind.  Some recumbent handle bar setups allow bar mounted rear view mirrors and they work fine however I prefer the helmet mounted kind.  It seems better to have the mirror closer to your eye and instantly I have a view behind me using nothing more than a twitch of my eyeball muscle.

I stopped by my local bike shop one day to peruse their selection of cycling accessories.  Out of the three or four different brands hanging on the display I noticed this mirror.  What caught my eye was the fact that each of these particular mirrors was a different color or had a design or image molded into the back side.  Studying the packaging I learned that the mirrors are produced from recycled plastic by a local guy named Chuck Harris.  Chuck has been continuously manufacturing these one at a time since 1970.  I didn't even know they had bicycle helmets back in 1970.  The paper work states:
 "For a more personal touch, send in your own art work, logo, lapel pin, etc. as long as it fits in the outline of the mirror that your ordering."  and he can mold your image into the plastic opposite the glass.  If you look closely at mine you can see half a bar code and something about "no refill and please recycle".  The plastic was evidently the side of a green soda bottle.
The mirror itself is real plate glass and the stem is stainless steel.  The steel is very stiff yet springy and is bent into a clamp that firmly grips the bottom rim of the helmet.  True to the instructions the mirror grips the helmet so tight you can pick up the helmet by the mirror.
After a couple rides I can honestly say this is the finest helmet mirror I have ever used.  I have had several over the years which have been all plastic and either easily detach from the helmet inadvertently or slowly droop from vibration and required readjustment while on the fly.  
I did a little web search to see if I could learn anything about this Chuck Harris character and found an interesting article.  Click Here to download the short two page pdf.  Contact information is at the bottom of the article.


After a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and Cheerios I hit the rural byways of north central Ohio.  My chosen 30 mile loop takes me through mostly agricultural areas and past a couple small villages.  The terrain is generally flat here with a few small hills thrown in to break up the monotony of the glacial plains in the region I call home.

Ahhhh Shade!

Here is a shot of the speedo.  Cruising along at a leisurely 21.4 mph about an hour and a half into the ride.  On the recumbent I have been riding the rail trails this season simply because I lacked a mirror and I really don't feel safe on the roads without one.  My new Chuck Harris Ultra Light Rear View Mirror is working great.  I can see the whole road and both shoulders well off to each side behind me.

30 Mile Loop
Distance  30.48 mi
Ride Time  2:07
Average Speed  14.3 mph
Max Speed  28.3 mph


  1. I've been thinking about getting a helmet mirror myself. But I've been put off by memories of bad mirrors in the past--ones that vibrate or fall off, as I recall. Any ideas about the best ones available over the Internet?

  2. Hi Stranded.
    I don't know about the net I never thought to do a search. I just checked out the LBS and found the one I did. I know that's not an option for you.
    Like I said I'm sold on this Chuck Harris mirror and would buy another in a heartbeat even if through snail mail. Cost me $20 retail so maybe cheaper if purchased right from the source.

    You know we cyclists are a peculiar lot. I can't stand one mirror on the handlebar. It throws off the visual balance.