Elements of Style: a selection of reviews

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

It’s been a little over a month since we released Elements of Style, a collaborative video project with our good friends at The Sufferfest. As most of you know CyclingTips began by simply posting one ‘tip’ per day, and now we get to go back to our roots by not only giving some tips again, but by actually showing you how to put form into motion. The video is all about helping everyday riders improve their form, efficiency and technique on the bike by giving you drills to practise. We even reckon it will help you look a little bit more ‘pro’.

A couple weeks back I invited a few people to write a short review of the video. I did this for a couple of reasons: firstly, reviewing a video I was involved in would be a bit of a conflict of interest (of course I think it’s great); and secondly, we’re keen to do further videos along the same lines and we wanted to find out what people liked about Elements of Style, and what they didn’t.

First up we asked our editor Matt de Neef to write a review as he had no involvement in the video at all:

First up I need to say that I’m not bitter at all about the fact I didn’t get to go to New Zealand to help shoot this video. Actually, I’m glad I got to spend a week here in the office in Melbourne while Wade and his friends rode their bikes riding in New Zealand telling everyone it was ‘work’.

Should you buy this video? Yes, because us CyclingTips employees need to eat. And look, I admit, it’s probably going to help you with your cycling as well. But whatever you do, please don’t email in afterwards telling Wade how great the video is and how “smooth” he looks on the bike. Our office is barely big enough as it is, without having to find room for Wade’s swollen head.

And here’s what some people outside of CyclingTips had to say about Elements of Style.

Jules wrote:

This video is a worthy addition to my training library – maybe even a vital one. The video nicely lays out some drills to help you develop more efficient form on the bike. Some of the tips I’d heard before, but some were new. I’ll guarantee you’ll find areas you need to work on – it’s a video you would do well to get out every now and then, when you’re not looking for a 10/10ths trainer session, to ensure your form has stayed on track.

If I had one gripe, it’s being asked to practice standing techniques on drills that are being done on a trainer, but then I guess the point is to get out on the road and work on it!

Andy Logan wrote:

From watching the video I definitely learnt a few things that I will take into account while I am out on the bike, I have always been aware of the scraping the bottom of your foot type action, however probably don’t think about it enough or even pay any attention to it while I am out training, so definitely will think about that. I think the systems checks are good things to have in your head to bring yourself back to for example, so that will be a takeaway for me as well.

I was wondering before I watched the video whether the drills might become repetitive or whether it would be a lot of things I already knew, but there was good new content in there and reminders for some exercises that I know about, but don’t put into action often enough.

Dave Arnup wrote:

Six drills to improve my efficiency and style, these drills are the battle but to win the war one must master the “Systems Check”. A nine-point foot-to-head check that can, and should be done on every ride. The video repeats the systems check throughout, and states that your should memorise the check, to perform regularly.

The low cadence drills with Allan Iacuone riding a gravel climb, perfect. Most of us will never ride the Koppenberg in the wet, but a gravel climb we can do. On this terrain the rider needs to be smooth and dare I say it relaxed.

I can and will whole heartedly recommend this video.

Calvin Rowaan wrote:

I never thought about using my core that much so I did not expect that 40 minutes on the bike could be such an ab workout. The Systems Check was definitely useful and got me to think about my body on the bike. I have a tendency to get my shoulders up around my ears so the reminders to check each part of your body and relax was really helpful.

At times [the video] felt too relaxed though, particularly towards the end when harder efforts are included. In other Sufferfest videos, a gunshot is used to signal the start of an interval but that was not present for the most part. Since it was so relaxed feeling and with Carlton Kirby’s calm voice I often found myself missing the start of some intervals when the information came on screen. A more noticeable signal at the start of intervals would definitely improve the video.

I really like how it played into Sufflandrian lore and made you feel like you were being initiated into an ancient secret society as they bestowed all their secrets upon you.

Name withheld:

I won’t be buying or using or recommending Sufferfest as a result of your choice of the buffoon, Carlton Kirkby, to voice this programme. I refuse to support or endorse any company or organisation which prolongs or propagates this ignorant moron as part of the cycling community. He’s not a “character” he’s an embarrassment.

Okay, not everyone is a fan…

If you like the look of the video, or if you like what we do here at CyclingTips and would like to support us, please buy a copy. It’s only US$9.99 (about AUD$11.50) and it will help us invest in more exciting projects like this in the future.

If you’ve already watched the video, we’d love to get your feedback in the comments below. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like? How would you improve it? What would you like to see in the next video?

Editors' Picks