I was given a RearViz cycling mirror to review. This mirror is attached to your wrist, rather than to the bicycle. I think it looks pretty cool and if you would like to find out how I got on with it then read on...
The RearViz mirror is produced by RVI Active, an Australian company that specialises in innovative safety products for the sport and fitness market. The RearViz was their first product.
I have never used a bicycle mirror before, so this was a new experience for me. I had never felt the need to use a mirror having been content to look over my shoulder to see behind. I have seen other cyclists using mirrors and always wondered if they were helpful, so this was my chance to find out.
The product is presented in a plastic bubble packet. The rear of the packet has an explanation of the mirror with the key features clearly highlighted. An instruction leaflet is enclosed. This is simple to follow with a combination of diagrams and text.
I think the RearViz looks very cool. In the closed position it reminds me of something like a chunky divers watch. The front opens up to reveal the mirror, a similar mechanism to a compact makeup mirror.
The fact that the RearViz looks good and does not look obviously like a mirror is a major plus point. I did quite a bit of online research into cycling mirrors and found that they suffer from an image problem- they are seen to be a bit 'geeky' and can give the impression that the rider is a novice. Despite the obvious safety benefit of mirrors this can put off many cyclists from using them. RearViz have possibly overcome the image problem of cycling mirrors by making something that is a lot cooler than a handlebar mounted mirror.
It is pretty easy to set it up with the Velcro armband, so that you can attach it to your arm. Deciding on the best place to position it on your arm was the most time consuming element of the set up. The instructions advise that most riders prefer above or below the elbow, but I found my wrist to be the best place.
You simply have to sit on your bike and experiment until you get the right position for you. When you open up the mirror you will find that it swivels and you must also get this into the perfect position to be able to see effectively in the mirror. The first time I did this it took me a while, but the more I used the mirror the quicker I got at this. Due to the fact that you are going to close the mirror over at the end of your ride it means that you have to perform this set up at the start of each ride, which you wouldn't need to do with a handlebar mounted mirror.
Take it With you
A handlebar mounted mirror is something that a thief could take from your bike, or someone could damage it accidentally or deliberately. Parking your bike in a city location brings a certain amount of risk to the accessories attached to the bike- that's why you will probably take your helmet, lights, computer and other items with you. The fact that the RearViz is worn on the arm means you don't have to worry about this.
Most cyclists do not use a mirror. Why? I think this is a combination of the fact that it is not a legal requirement and that it is seen as somewhat nerdy to use a mirror. My opinion is that I was always comfortable with looking over my shoulder, but when I really thought about all the turns on my cycle commute I soon realised that I was not always that comfortable. Some of the turns, such as on steep downhills or on cobbles, felt like I would lose balance if I tried to look over my shoulder. However, with the mirror I didn't have to go through this feeling of risking a fall for the sake of looking behind me.
There were other situations where I felt that I needed to focus on what was going on in front of me and that trying to look over my shoulder could be too risky. For example, a narrow road with lots of traffic that I had to wait for a gap in. In these situations the mirror came into its own.
Attracting New Cyclists
Any cycling invention that helps to get more people using bikes is great. We already know that perceived risk of accidents prevents many from taking up cycling. They will be nervous about having to look over their shoulder and losing their balance, but the RearViz can help to overcome this fear.
Get Over the Novelty
For the first few days of using the mirror I couldn't take my eyes off it. I loved the novelty of being able to see who was behind me, without turning around. Sometimes I felt that it was taking my attention away from from what was in front of me. It took some discipline to stop myself peering into the mirror too often and only to use it when necessary. This novelty soon passed and the mirror simply became like any other accessory on my bike- useful.
Cycling with Children
This is an added benefit of a cycling mirror and one that the manufacturers should promote more. If you have a rear child seat on your bicycle it is impossible to see what your child is up to. You simply cannot turn your head far enough to see unless you come to a complete stop. My child is very quiet when we go out cycling, so I cannot tell if he is enjoying the ride. With the RearViz I was able to observe him looking around at the world passing by and, more importantly, I could see his smiles that I would otherwise have missed. The mirror made a bicycle ride with my child even more enjoyable because I could watch how he was reacting.
I really enjoyed using the RearViz. It is a great looking product with an obvious safety benefit. For city commuting on busy roads I will continue to use the mirror, but on quiet country roads and cycle paths I don't feel the need. The one exception is when I am out cycling with my child as I can use the mirror to enjoy watching how he reacts to the ride.
Safety benefits of a cycling mirror in city conditions
Can keep an eye on children when using a rear mounted seat
Easy to take with you
Available in different colours- black, blue, green, orange, purple
Adjusting the mirror each time that you ride.
Competition! I have one RearViz to give away. All you have to do is tell me why you would love to have this product in the comments below. The best comment wins the mirror. Due to postage costs I can only accept entrants from the UK. Closing date 31st March 2019.
I received a free RearViz mirror to review. The opinions are my own.
If you would like to purchase the RearViz you can click on the image below to take you to Amazon:
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.