There is one very small, mundane plastic item that I totally take for granted, right up until the time that I do not have it ready. It has been with me for well over five years and frankly I am lost without it! It is adjustable, removable, tiltable, swivelable, and useable. It is my helmet mounted rear view mirror! I can not ride comfortably without it! The product is not completely perfect, but within the limitations I am about to outline, the product gets an "A."
This mirror is usually delivered in a plastic bag hanging on a rack, I guess it sells for between 9 and 13 dollars. I bought mine (two actually) at the Bike Junkie in Plainview, but it was so long ago that i have forgotten what I paid. The mirror resembles a dentist's mirror, a round mirror mounted in a support that sits on a ball joint at the end of a shaft. The shaft is mounted in a swiveled attachment that snaps into a mounting plate. The mounting plate/attachment is purposely detachable both for safety and storage reasons. The mounting plate is attached to your helmet by a double sided foam tape. This is the weakest point of the system! The second weakest is the detachable plates.
Long ago when I saw dorky dudes whipping along in spandex funny clothes, I noticed that some of them had these weird mirrors attached to their seriously dorky helmets. My initial thoughts were, "hey get over yourself dude!" Then a while (many more years than I care to divulge) I started training up for my first AIDS Ride. Within two weeks of riding on the roads of Long Island I went out and got my helmet mirror! This was partially a result of the need for the bike to be equipped with a mirror in order to participate. But my choices seemed to be a handle bar mirror of some sort or a helmet mirror. Intuitively I felt that the handle bar mirror would be pointing the wrong way every time you really needed it as you steered to avoid some disaster, so I went with the helmet variety.
Now I am not saying that this was love at first sight, it took a bit of getting used to. Adjusting the silly little thing requires more finesse than I was originally willing to deliver, but eventually you get the hang of it and after five years I am actually really good at it! But once it is actually adjusted, it works very well. Within moments you do not notice the obstruction in front of you (to the side really) and yet looking into it becomes second nature almost right away. Although the mirror is small the field of view is adequate. You quickly learn just how much to swivel your head to sweep the entire area in back of you!
Bumpy roads do make things dicey! So do rain and heavy fog, although it can be fun to watch the water drip off the round mirror's bottom! Bumpy roads do destroy visual acuity as your head waggles and vibrates in sympathy with the vagueries of the road's surface, but this too you eventually get used to and kind of see through as well. But I suspect that a handle bar mounted mirror would actually be worse because you can use your neck to dampen the vibes a bit if you choose to, but no such option is there for the rigid mounted handle bar variety.
So in conclusion, The thing works. I am lost without it. In my opinion it is an important safety device. The cost is right. BUT! The tape sucks, sweat up a good ride and it is off your helmet in two shakes of a doo rag! (My mounting plate is now hot melt glued into place). Bump or brush against something and the shaft will pop off! It will pop right back on as long as no one steps on or rolls over it, but if you don't notice right away it's gone. Be careful placing your helmet down. Do it wrong and pick up your helmet quickly without noticing and you walk away sans mirror. They could make the snap a bit stronger I think, but again this is my second or third one and I have had this one for at least a few years, so I guess you get used to keeping track of the little bugger! I recommend it!