Small Gear Spotlight: Bike Peddler “Take a Look” Helmet Mirror

If there’s one thing bikepackers love, it’s a small and cheap piece of gear that delivers big value. In this case it’s no exaggeration to say the item I’ll be spotlighting has probably saved my life. If that’s not value, I don’t know what is!

Today I’m spotlighting the Bike Peddler Take A Look Mirror. I’ve been riding with this little gizmo for years and rarely get on my bike without it, unless I’ll solely be on trails. It’s in almost all my bikepacking pictures, making me look dorky awesome. It’s so important that on really long trips I bring a spare.

During a bikepacking trip I grow so accustomed to its comforting presence in my peripheral vision that I catch myself looking for it while walking. When you really think about it, why don’t humans wear rear-view mirrors all the time? It’s so handy.

As you can see, I love this little mirror. This quick spotlight makes my case for mirrors in general and this mirror in particular, and explains a few things to watch out for (pun intended) if you decide to try it.

This is a very positive piece and I realize in today’s age it could come across as advertising, so I want to be clear: I don’t have any relationship with the brand. I want to highlight a piece of gear I love and help my fellow cyclists stay safe out there.

Woman with touring bike and helmet mirror on desert road
Take a Look Mirror in Sudan
Cyclist in the rain wearing purple jacket and helmet mirror and giving thumbs up
Take a Look Mirror somewhere in Idaho, I think

When you buy through affiliate links in this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks for your support! I always offer unbiased opinions based on real experience from the road and trail. Learn more.

Why Use a Cycling Mirror

We all know cycling near motor vehicles can be dangerous. Among all the important traffic safety precautions we can take, I personally believe a rear view mirror is a big one.

Some cyclists say you don’t need a mirror because you should always ride as if a car is zooming up behind you at any minute. Some say the cars will avoid you, and if they don’t, you can’t do anything about it in time anyway.

Those people don’t use mirrors, but I do, and I feel that long-distance bike trips in particular warrant a different kind of traffic awareness. Here are some scenarios where I find a mirror very helpful:

  • Sparse traffic on shoulderless roads: Mirror allows me to be aware of an occasional car and make sure they have seen me and are moving over.
  • Occasional two way traffic on shoulderless roads: In many countries including the U.S., drivers will give cyclists space unless it would mean hitting their brakes because another car is oncoming. When speeds are high and I see this situation forming in my mirror, I sometimes pull off the road. I’ll never know for sure but I feel this may have saved my life a time or two, both involving heavy trucks that underestimated their stopping distance.
  • Keeping an eye on the whereabouts of a riding companion without having to turn around.

My one word of caution: don’t spend so much time looking in the rear view mirror that you miss an obstacle in front of you. Good advice for cycling and for life, right? With practice you’ll find the balance.

Why Use This Mirror

Before getting the Take a Look Mirror I experimented with other types, mainly handlebar-mounted mirrors. I could never find one that met my needs while bikepacking.

They were hard to attach securely, got in the way of my hands, or didn’t play well with my eccentric handlebar setups (bar-end shifters, wide flared drops, flat bars with bar-end grips, etc). Most importantly, when I started riding gravel and rougher off-road routes, vibration made it hard to see anything.

I stumbled on the idea of a helmet mirror, bought the Take a Look based on its Amazon reviews, and the rest is history. Here’s what I like about it.

It mounts to the visor of a helmet or the arm of glasses. I ride almost everywhere with a Troy Lee Designs A1 Classic, a mountain bike helmet with a generous visor, so I always wear it there. I’ve also worn it on the edge of a Da Brim helmet visor, which earns the absolute max dorkiness fashion points ever awarded (and also works pretty well).

Bikepacker wearing big visor and mirror, with bike leaning against Continental Divide sign in background
Da Brim + mirror, surely the most fashionable cycling accessory combination ever.

The mirror itself is a good size, big enough for a usable view but small enough to not get in the way. I like the larger original size, though they sell a Compact version too. The minimalist design is really just a mirror and some thin pieces of metal, so you really get max value out of the mirror’s size without any extra bulk or weight.

The three-plane adjustable design is super versatile. So versatile, in fact, that it took me a few thousand miles to find my preferred setup with the best view: clipped to the middle of my visor with the mirror pivoted downward. I’m still not sure if this is the recommended setup, but it works for me.

If you want to switch between helmet and glasses it’s very easy to rearrange the pivoting pieces for a different mirror placement. The metal parts can even bend with no harm done for a customized angle.

Some helmet mirrors attach with adhesive or straps, which makes them a bit harder to remove. The Take a Look is very easy to slip off (and back on), fold up, and tuck in my top tube bag. On mixed routes I do this a lot, putting it on for road riding and tucking it away for long stretches of car-free trails or empty forest service roads.

I think it’s designed to be worn on the left, but it’s easy to switch sides and I’ve successfully used it on the right side too (just a bit of repositioning needed). If you find yourself crossing international borders between left-side-drive and right-side-drive countries, this is a handy feature.

Folded cycling mirror in hand
The mirror folds up and fits easily into my top tube bag when I’m not using it.
Close up of helmet mirror clipped onto visor
After trying a few configurations, the center of my visor is currently working best.

Minor Annoyances

As much as I love this mirror, there are a few annoyances I’ve learned about the hard way.

The rubbery black sleeves at the pivot points help the clamp to stick on the helmet visor (or glasses arm), but they don’t last forever. They can slip off, and when they do, the mirror is no longer as sticky. A wrap of electrical tape is a workable short term replacement, but not as good.

Especially if these sticky sleeves come off, the mirror is easy to knock off its perch on your helmet or glasses. My husband once dropped his down a well in the Sahara desert, which was such a sad moment (but at least we found water!). I once spent ages searching for mine in tall grass after catching it on a bush during a roadside pee break (yes, I found it!).

Because it’s fairly easy to knock off and lose, I’ve gone through a few. I keep buying replacements because I like it so much, and on really long trips I’ve been known to tuck a spare deep in my bags. After riding with it daily I would feel naked without it!

Lastly, during really steep hike-a-bike it hovers so close to my handlebars that I need to remove it. But I absolutely concede that this is not the intended use case.

Man wearing bike helmet fills water bladder from well in desert
Taken shortly after his mirror fell down the well. 🙁 So sad, but at least we found water in the desert.

Where to Buy It

The Take a Look Mirror is available on Amazon, but the current price there is actually a bit higher than other places. You can also find it on REI and the Take a Look website, where you can submit warrantee claims and even order a custom length.

I noticed the Take a Look site also sells an adhesive helmet adapter for helmets without a visor. I haven’t tried it, but if the glasses mount doesn’t work for you it could be a good option.

That’s all for this gear spotlight! If you’re in the market for a helmet mirror I hope it helps you. Either way, may your road rides be safe and free from crazy drivers.

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Alissa, founder of Exploring Wild. I’ve traveled over 20,000 miles by bike and still can’t stop planning my next ride (and helping you plan yours). Pavement and panniers or singletrack and seat bag, I love it all. On my bike I feel free. Learn more about me here.

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