A bike ride is one of the most pleasurable experiences to be had outdoors. A bicycle helmet and rearview mirror are essentials that make cycling safe.
Bicycle rearview mirrors come in many forms. This tutorial will show how easy it is to make a bicycle rearview mirror that attaches to the brim of a bicycle helmet.
Step 1: Inspiration
When I was eighteen I went with several other young people on a 4,828 km (3,000 mile) bicycle road trip. It was an experience I will never forget and I dream of someday doing it again. I had a wonderful little plastic rearview mirror that clipped to the brim of my bicycle helmet that worked great.
Sometime after the trip I lost the rearview mirror and have never found a replacement quite like it.
One day while using my retractable mirror, I wondered how I could somehow transform it into a bicycle rearview mirror. I knew I would somehow have to fasten it to my bicycle helmet and searching through my hardware bin, I found an alligator clip. Everything came together for me at that moment.
To sum it all up:
Alligator clip + Inspection Mirror = Bicycle Rearview Mirror!
I like the fact that the clip and mirror frame are made from metal as that makes them more durable and less likely to break when carried in my pocket or backpack.
Step 2: Tools and Materials
Simple hand tools do the job for this project.
The alligator clip and inspection mirror may be purchased at a hardware store or online. Just be sure that the diameter of the alligator clip tube and mirror shaft are roughly the same, in this case 4 mm (5/32 inch).
Step 3: Making the Bicycle Helmet Rearview Mirror
Measure + cut + insert = done!
That is the kind of equation I like. It is that easy! No derivations needed for this one.
Measure the length of the alligator clip tube (Photo 1). In this case it is 25 mm (1 inch).
Use a hacksaw to cut the tip of the inspection mirror to the same length as the alligator clip tube (Photo 2). Use sandpaper or a small file to smooth rough edges.
Insert the inspection mirror into the alligator clip tube (Photo 3). The fit should be very snug to keep the mirror in place. If the fit is not snug, use a pair of pliers to gently compress the alligator clip tube so that the fit is snug.
Photo 4 shows the finished rearview mirror.
Normally I don't like to cut up a perfectly functioning item just to make something else with it (Photo 5).
Instead I like to find broken or recycled items and harvest components from those things that are destined for the landfill.
In this case I have something in mind that I can make from the telescoping portion of the inspection mirror, so you'll be seeing it again.
Step 4: Maintenance
During my weekday bicycle-bus commute to work, I have to remove my mirror or risk loosing it as I hurriedly strap my bicycle helmet to my backpack as I board the bus.
The frequent folding and adjusting of the mirror causes it to loosen over time at the swivel attachment.
Periodically I have to tighten the little nut; a simple little fix, and it is back to new again.
Step 5: Attaching the Rearview Mirror to the Bicycle Helmet
The rearview mirror easily clips to the bicycle helmet brim. It swivels so that you can adjust it to see behind you.
I like it better than other types of rearview mirrors that are handlebar-mounted because I don't have to take my eyes off of the road ahead of me to see what is behind me.
I can also turn my head to see other areas behind me so that my view, when desired, is greater than the view provided by a stationary-mounted rearview mirror.
Step 6: Final Thoughts
The bicycle helmet rearview mirror is cheap and easy to make. I made several of these to have on hand should I loose or misplace one.
I have also given them away to admiring friends who want to know where I bought the handy little one-of-a-kind rearview mirror.