As I’ve been able to resume riding with more focus and intent it's has been pleasing to find things that help to enhance and improve the experience.
There are three basic riding accessories with which I recent and new experience. I’ve been a user and non-user of helmets going back to the late 80s when I was riding the streets of Atlanta. I have always used a mirror, even (or especially) in the 80s in Atlanta. I have always worn glasses when riding. Since returning to more time in the saddle I have acquire a new helmet, glasses and mirror.
Before I set-off on my adventure up the East Coast I made a hasty decision to replace my budget priced Bell with an even more budget Walmart helmet because I thought it would provide better ventilation, which it did. The helmet served me well, or I figure it would have if I’d fallen over, but it had weird one-side-only size adjustment and did not adjust large enough to wear a watch cap under in cold weather. I learned to make do. I don’t recall exactly how I came upon Kali Protectives, but when I read some reviews and then saw one for sale on eBay I bought it; Kali Protectives' Chakra Plus. It fits well, adjusts easily and abundantly, includes a bug net and seems to be more ventilated. There’s nothing more to be said. If you're in Gainesville you can get one through Bikes & More.
When I began looking for a replacement mirror I considered Hubbub’s helmet mounted variety because the local bike club sells them with their logo affixed. At $20 they were much more expensive than my $8 Messenger Mirrors (no longer being made), but I liked the idea of having glasses free of encumbrances. I later discovered Mark Sheahan’s “Handmade Bicycle Helmet Mirrors” which are modeled after those made for decades by Chuck Harris, The Mirror Man, who died in 2012. Like Chuck Harris’ (and HubBub’s, I assume) the mirrors grip tenaciously to your helmet. Mark repurposes bicycle spokes to make the hanger, making them sturdy and highly resistant to vibration. After a couple of months of use I attest to their durability and stability. Fitting was modestly time consuming and not difficult, but it was more about wanting the best view than any difficulty with the device.
I think that Mark has managed to carry-on the spirit of The Mirror Man, especially in the personal manner in which he dealt with me as a customer. A visit to his website, Harp & Spoke Cycling Products will show how highly customizable his mirrors are. One can make a statement as well as see what’s coming up from behind. An' like my "logo" better!
Since 2011 I have worn a pair of Optic Nerve Photochromatic glasses and they have served me well. When Đại úy Chuck and I rode the GAP/C&O I wore a pair of mirrored, rainbow glasses that I really liked as an alternative. Unfortunately, the rubber nose pads came off too easily and disappeared before I could glue them in place, so I returned to my Optic Nerves. The Florida sun tends to be very bright year-round and there were many times when I did not feel the photochromatic glasses were dark enough, so I have always been watching for alternatives. I did not expect to find an adequate replacement for the Optic Nerves or the mirrored, rainbows, but I did . . . on eBay . . . surely too cheap to be good. I paid $20-something for two pair of glasses; one rainbow and one clear. I have always had a pair of adequate, clear safety glasses (with mirror) for night riding, so getting a potentially better replacement for those was good.
After a couple of months of wear I have concluded that the cheap glasses are worth more than they cost. There is no visual distortion, something of which I am very aware after cataract and detached retina surgeries. They fit well and tightly. The ventilation holes do a good job of clearing fogging. They are light and their close-to-the- face fit does an excellent job of keeping out rain and debris. Both the mirrored and the clear lenses work well. The fit might be too tight for some people, but for me these are a winner. They are available on eBay from AppleBoogies .
I never ride without sun or clear glasses. I, also, always wear a mirror. Both acessories seem like essential pieces of equipment rather than options. Having a helmet that fits well has made me face my invalid logic that riding helmetlessly is ok. It might be ok, but I accept that it's not a good idea. Eye protection and the ability to know what's behind are important and so, too, is having head portection.