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Bicycling accessories

Re: Bicycling accessories

On the last instructional ride I had some questions about my bike accessories so I decided to expand here --

Fit-over sunglasses --
My eyes are sensitive to wind and cold so I can't use normal sunglasses with my prescription glasses. Instead I use fit-over sunglasses. ( … ults.aspx) These are a complete set of sunglasses (including the temple pieces) that completely enclose my prescription glasses, leaving only a small gap to my face. One disadvantage is that they tend to fog up somewhat when stopped and on cold days. I normally wear the smoke but I also have amber for overcast days. Note: polarized sunglasses cause an oil-like shimmer on my bicycling computer so I always buy nonpolarized.

Rear view mirror --
I consider a rear view mirror an absolute necessity, particularly when making a left turn where a car might be passing. It also allows me to keep track of other riders in the group. I find that handlebar mounted mirrors are too difficult to view and are often blurry due to the bicycle vibration. I can't use a mirror that attaches to my eyeglasses because I use the fit-over sunglasses. The alternative is a helmet mirror. The one I prefer is made by Efficient Velo Tools ( … -mirror/). (See a review here -- The mirror is large (2" diameter) so it gives a good field of vision. However, because of its large diameter  it can block your forward vision unless you position it well to the side. However, the position is very easy to adjust because of the interlocking cones. (When you attach it to your helmet, try to mount it as far forward as possible.)

The company has good customer service. I emailed them to request several additional cone sections so that the mirror could be positioned farther forward; they sent these to me at no charge. (These cone sections just snap together.) Also, at one point the piece that mounts to the helmet cracked; they quickly sent me a replacement under warranty.

Rear flasher --
For a bicyclist, visibility to drivers is critical. Therefore I use a rear flasher. I use the Cygolite Hotshot 2W ( which is extremely bright so it is suitable for daytime use. It has 5 flash modes that are adjustable. It mounts to either the seat post (my preference) or the seat stays. It is USB rechargeable (no batteries to replace). It comes with the USB cable so that you can recharge it from your computer; however, I bought the optional wall USB charger which is more convenient for me. (Note: there is a less expensive version (; see a comparison review --

Chain catcher --
When you downshift to your smallest chainring (in the front), the chain may occasionally overshift off of the chainring, causing a dropped chain. Not only is this annoying but it can lead to a crash if it upsets your expected pedaling rhythm and can also damage your frame. On my bike the chain actually wedges between the chainring and frame and is difficult to dislodge. (In theory this overshifting shouldn't occur if your front derailleur's low limit screw is correctly set so this is the first thing that you should check. None-the-less, overshifting may still occasionally occur.)
To help prevent overshifting you can install a chain catcher on the seat tube just below the derailleur. The chain catcher has a small finger that sits next to the chain when the chain is on the smallest chainring. If the chain starts to overshift it rubs against this finger until it settles correctly onto the chainring. I use the K-edge ( … her.html). (Quick review -- This is the only one that will work with my seat tube and triple chainring. However, there are other less expensive designs ( so check with your local bike shop.

Insulated water bottle --
If you want to keep your drink cooler in the summer or warmer in the winter, try an insulated water bottle. I use one by Polar ( My test showed that after 1/2 hour in direct sunlight, the drink in the insulated bottle was 10 degrees cooler than the non-insulated bottle. One disadvantage is that the bottle is somewhat harder to squeeze because of its double wall construction.

Don Culp

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