Raise your hand if you can remember the colour of Marco Pantani’s helmet.
Difficult, isn’t it? Of course, because the legendary “Pirata” (“Pirate”) never wore one, like almost all the champions from his era.
Today, it would seem really strange to see professional cyclists racing without a helmet, and actually it is almost impossible now to meet any amateur cyclists out training with their head bare.
This cultural “evolution” in cycling is all thanks to the professionals. Towards the end of the 1990s and unfortunately aided by the fatal accident to Fabio Casartelli, they managed to convey the message that helmets are an essential safety measure to be included in every cyclist’s “standard” clothing, to be worn at all times, whenever riding.
But if road safety comes first and foremost, why not go a step further and adopt other accessories that could prove just as crucial in this regard? A rear-view mirror, for example.
Statistically, many accidents occur precisely when riders turn around to check behind, tending to move towards the centre of the road; nevertheless, people are still a little wary about using a rear-view mirror, perhaps in case they ruin their bike’s appearance.
And not even the professionals use them…
To those who think that way, you can quote the example of GP Motorcycle riders: they don’t have mirrors on their vehicles, simply because without any traffic on the track, they don’t need one; but try to get a motorcyclist on the road to abandon their rear-view mirrors. They would think you’re mad!
So why should it be any different for racing bikes? During races, they would similarly be superfluous, but when we are riding in traffic, with cars whizzing by us a few centimetres away, they would be very useful.
It’s probably only a matter of time, and sooner or later we will come to accept the idea that mounting a mirror on our bike during training could save our lives. The choice would certainly be made easier if the item in question had a particular, elegant design, like the Eyelink made by Selle Italia, which also ensures a wide-angle view, for maximum safety even on the busiest roads.
The next time we slowdown in front of a shop-window to check that our style is impeccable (let’s confess it: we all do it sometimes!), with Eyelink, everything will be absolutely perfect.