Share this post:

Spinning Music’s Top 25 Cycling Tunes of 2012!

Top 25 Spinning TunesWhat a year 2012 was!  This little blog collected some 860,000 views in 2012, pushing it past 2,000,000 mark since its inception in May 2008.  Readers from 184 countries dropped by for music ideas and advice – that’s more than 90% of the countries in the world.  Crikey, I’ve only visited 18 of them – I’d better get going.

Props to Dana, BAR, Wilma Perez, Brenda T and Steve at Stevespinlist for being the most active commenters of 2012 – thanks to each of you for your many contributions.

I’d also like to send a huge shout out to the sites that sent the most traffic over: Spinning Mixes, The Sufferfest, Facebook, Pinterest and Chrispins.  Everyone knows Facebook and Pinterest, but if you haven’t checked out Spinning Mixes, The Sufferfest and Chrispins, you’re missing out. 

J.R. Atwood’s Spinning Mixes was the inspiration for this blog and even though he’s not actively updating it anymore, it’s still got some fine alt-rock rides that stand the test of time.  Singapore cyclist David McQuillan’s Sufferfest is the place to go if you want to add video and coaching to your training rides.  His videos have garnered rave reviews from, VeloNews, Triathlete, and Cycling Weekly, AND he offers a money-back guarantee.  Chrispins is the WordPress blog of a New York cycling instructor and contributor over ICI/Pro.  Chris is an incredibly prolific blogger (I am in awe!) and offers tons of great music suggestions through Spotify – it’d take you days to check out all of them.  (You can find her ‘Best of 2012’ playlist here.)

Speaking of ‘Best of Lists,” each new year brings a slew of ‘best of’ lists and this year is no exception.  Rolling Stone magazine offered their eclectic take on the best 50 songs of 2012 here; Billboard magazine weighed in with their top 20 here, and The Huffington Post here.  Shape Magazine’s 50 best workout songs of 2012 are here , and Toronto radio station Z103.5’s top 103 songs of 2012 are here – the latter two are definitely the lists that are most sympatico with my own musical tastes.  (By the way, what’s up with all of the ‘best of’ lists that require hugely annoying clicks – and waits – to view each song on the list?  Do the folks at these sites think I’ll be more likely to click on the ads if they do this?  Just gimme the list.)

This blog isn’t immune to the ‘best of’ bug either.  Each year since 2008, I’ve called out what I think are the top 25 cycling tunes of the year.  So, without further ado, here is my take on the 25 very best indoor cycling songs of 2012:

1.  50 Ways to Say Goodbye – Train.  I liked Drops of Jupiter, but you can’t cycle to it.  This tune, though, became my favourite of the year for it’s heart-pumping, quad-pushing chorus.  How can you not dig deep and find just a little more energy when you hear this one?  Love, love, love it.

2.  Call Me Maybe  – Carly Rae Jepsen.  Unquestionably the song of summer 2012.  I use the original as a warm up or for jumps; the Manhattan Clique Remix is perfect for climbing and it’s peppy pop perfection distracts from the fact that it’s one hell of a six minute hill.

3.  Somebody I Used to Know (Tiesto Remix) – Gotye.  Inexplicably absent from the ‘best of’ lists I looked at (but nominated for two Grammys!) this breakout hit has more than 366,000,000 views on Youtube and reached #1 in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada along with 22 other countries, and was a top 10 hit in 30 more.  I love it as a climb, in or out of the saddle.

4.  Some Nights – Fun.  Perfect cool down energy.  For a version that will support a climb, check out DJ Space’C’s workout remix, but it’s the original version that makes me stop and listen.  (This one is Chrispin’s #1 song of 2012.)

5.  Don’t Wake Me Up – Chris Brown.  Pure sprint interval bliss.

6.  Die Young – Ke$ha.  Climbing, jumping, whatever you do to this song, you’ll be humming it on the way out of the gym.

7.  Gangnam Style – PSY.  It collected 1.1 BILLION Youtube views and you can cycle to it.   What more can I say?

8.  Babel – Mumford & Sons – A glorious seated climb, this song debuted at #1 in the UK and on the US Billboard Chart.  Celtic music is enormously popular in Nova Scotia.

9.  Breakn’ a Sweat (Zedd Remix) – Skillrex and The Doors.  I use this one as a warmup or a combo surge/climb.  Bonus points for the title.

10.  Rumor Has It – Bump n Grind.  Some readers are going to want to pelt me with eggs for skipping over Adele for an unknown cover band, but dammit, Adele is hard to cycle to and this extended cover is true to the original and rocks.  (Surely that IS Adele on vocals?)  Plus, Adele’s CD 21 doesn’t qualify for the Top 25 list because it wasn’t released in 2012.

11.  Pound the Alarm – Nicki Minaj.  Had to buy this one twice, ’cause the explicit version is, well, explicit.  Works for jumps or climbing.

12.  I Cry – Flo Rida.  No doubt about it, Flo Rida records catchy tunes and has a real knack for sampling.  Rolling hills, anyone?

13.  Mighty Love (Instrumental) – Eric Prydz.  A perfect climb/surge combo song.

14.  Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars.  It’s The Police!  No, Bruno Mars!  Two juicy sprints in this one.

15.  Amnesia (Radio Edit) – Ian Carey and Rosetta.  This is the other male/female accusatory duet of the year (the other one being Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know.)  Amnesia reminds me a little of Timbaland’s The Way I Are, but I like Amnesia better.  You can use it as a straight climb or throw in some sprints.

16.  Hall of Fame (feat. – The Script.  If I could only cool down to two songs this year, I’d be happy with Some Nights and Hall of Fame.

17.  Never Close Our Eyes – Adam Lambert.  I think my favourite part of this song is the build right before the chorus.  I always coach the riders to slow and wait…wait….wait and then explode into the sprint.

18.  Don’t Stop the Party – Pitbull.  Who has more fun than Pitbull?  Jumps!

19.  Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – P!nk.  My favourite part of this sprinting tune is that I coach the sprints as 30/30/60 but secretly, they are 33/33/1:07 so I extract an extra 13 seconds of work from my riders.  I generally confess and get some wry laughs when the song ends.

20.  Good Time – Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen.  Perfect warmup energy.

21.  The Veldt – Deadmau5.  Whether you go with the radio edit at 2:50 or the “8 minute edit” that clocks in at 8:39 or an even longer edit at 11:32, this song is perfect for warming up, zoning out with a long tempo drill, or even a combo climb/surge.  Feel like throwing in a few jumps?  Those work, too.  One of the most flexible songs of the year, I’m still thinking of things to do with it.

22.  Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch) – Calvin Harris.  One of my go-to zone out songs for the year, it’s so easy to close your eyes with this one and just ride.

23.  Body Work (feat. Tegan and Sarah) – Morgan Page.  A great climbing or tempo tune from this Grammy-nominated American DJ.  Bonus points that the lyrics talk about “my pulse working overtime…”  I heard a fast remix on a local radio station and I’ve been scouring iTunes to find it – so far to no avail.  Anyone know it?

24.  Home – Phillip Phillips.  I’ve used this song for cool downs but I think it would work just as well for a tempo run.

25.  Kiss You Inside Out – Hedley.  These Canadian alt-rockers have mastered the urgent power ballad.  I use this versatile tune for climbing, jumps, warming up, single-leg training….

A few more songs that came close, but didn’t quite make the cut… Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia, The House that Heaven Built by the Japandroids, Turn It Up by Kardinal Offishall, Carry On by Fun, Red and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift, Whistle by Flo Rida, Part of Me by Katy Perry, Let Me Love You by Ne-Yo, Karma by Kristina Maria, The World is Ours by Eleven Past One, the recent remake of the classic Cyndi Lauper tune True Colors by Artists Against.

There are a few other great songs that didn’t qualify because they were released in December 2011 but didn’t hit my radar until 2012: Wild Ones by Flo Rida, Titanium by David Guetta, and Everybody Talks by Neon Trees.

So, what do you think?  Did I get it right?  Any unworthy choices?  Any egregious omissions?

I was reading the free local Metro News today and came across journalist Jessica Napier’s description of indoor cycling classes:  She says they’re “kind of like burning calories in a night club except you’re pedalling instead of grinding and that water you’re chugging down doesn’t have any vodka in it.”  I never thought of cycling classes this way, but I will admit that when I do get to a nightclub (which is about once a year these days) I become an excited geek because I know all the songs.  So maybe the parallel with clubbing isn’t off-base after all.


32 Comments On “Spinning Music’s Top 25 Cycling Tunes of 2012!

  1. Hana Reply

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your thought.

  2. Geluid Presentatie Reply

    Haha Psy, really?

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Yup! Like I said Geluid, it’s got 1.5 billion views on Youtube and you can Spin to it. It had to be in there. I don’t think it’s going to have the staying power of some other tunes. I am already swapping it out of my playlists (along with Call Me Maybe).

  3. Pierre Maes Reply

    Great list. Thank you Cynthia.
    I am totally obsessed by The Veldt. I made a playlist where the song appears four times (once in the 11min version and three times in the unbelievable Tommy Trash 4min remix). I would love to share it but what’s the best way of doing it? I tried Mixcloud but you have to take an account to listen to it. Thanks.

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Hmm, not sure. Lots of folks here use Spotify but it isn’t available in Canada (where I live). Youtube maybe? Here’s a link to a 4 minute version on Youtube: and the full 11 minute version:

  4. Kadence Reply

    Good afternoon Cynthia or any readers that can answer, I was curious if I could inquire at what times you do your sprints at during Pink’s, Blow Me One Last Kiss? Thank you very much for the list, I greatly appreciate the resource!

    1. Kelly Reply

      Hi — I copied this from Cynthia’s Gangnam Style Spin Mix: Back into the saddle for some more speed work. P!nk’s latest gives us three opportunities to sprint at 0:48 – 1:21, 1:59 – 2:33 and 3:07 – 4:14 (33/33/1:07). We’re really stretching the sprint intervals today.

  5. iann22 Reply

    Thanks for the list, can’t fault it! i particularly love that its not all dance tracks and that there’s some rock in there.

    i would like recommendations for two albums which both have several tracks worthy of a spin class:
    1. Calvin Harris – 18 months
    2. Project X OST

    I might even work on a Project X playlist, watch this space…

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Ian, I hadn’t noticed that all of those great Calvin Harris songs are on one CD, but you’re absolutely right. There’s lots of other good stuff in there too – as strong as Guetta I think. I couldn’t find Project X on iTunes but caught one song on Youtube, not enough to get a flavour for them.

      1. Arcadia Reply

        Where do you do your sprints at during Pink’s, Blow Me One Last Kiss?

        1. Cynthia Reply

          Hi Arcadia,

          Basically at the choruses: 0:48 – 1:21, 1:59 – 2:33 and 3:07 – 4:14 (33/33/1:07 seconds)

  6. fastmojo1 Reply

    I am new instructor and have had a incredible time getting music, I prefer hard rock like pantera and tool. Where can I find music, without taking a second mortgage out on my home???

    1. Mel Reply

      Subscribe to: Spotify or Rdio. You can make your own playlists, share others. Just pay a subscription fee per month.

      My latest spinningmusic inspired playlist here:

      1. Cynthia Reply

        Thanks Mel! I’d forgotten about The Pretender. Readers in Canada, Rdio just launched a six month free promo! I signed up. You get limited streaming but it’s a chance to check it out, especially since we don’t have access to Spotify yet. One of the concerns I have about streaming music is that both gyms I teach at are in malls and have zero cell service. I am assuming this means I can’t use streaming music services for my classes. Or maybe there’s a way to download the music? Are there any Rdio or Spotify experts out there who can answer this?

      2. Mel Reply

        I can’t speak for spotify, but with you put the app on your phone and hit ‘sync to mobile’ to put the actual songs on your phone. Then you’re not online at all – and you could listen on a plane, in a basement, wherever. I sync all the playlists I use at the gym. I’m a total Rdio convert and am moving away from downloading/using iTunes.

      3. Mel Reply

        Oh, and the Pretender is awesome! The Foos fire me right up.

  7. spinrunsew Reply

    Great list!

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Thanks SpinRunSew!

  8. [...] in both my personal and blog world.  Thanks to a little shout out from my friend Cynthia over at Spinni...
  9. kimpossible22 Reply

    Just found this site and it is awesome!

  10. Dana Reply

    Thanks for the shout out!! HA! And yes…where’s the “Like” button on here? Love the list. I’m listening to Kiss You Inside Out right now. LOVE IT! I can’t tell you how many songs I’ve gotten from this site. Thank you so much!

  11. Christine Reply

    Have used 90% of this list!

  12. chrispins Reply

    Love your list Cynthia! Thanks so much for the shout-out! You were my original inspiration and I always look forward to your posts and playlists. :) Keep ’em comin’!

  13. Robert Leventhal Reply

    Hi Cynthia –

    Happy New Year

    I have a ride for New Year’s Eve and/or Day called “Ring In The New.” I update it every year and this time I added a new kickass close–“This Is The New Year” by Ian Axel (3:13). It got one of the best responses I have ever had, folks wanting it for their iPods and feeling wrung out by its frantic ending. It takes a few seconds to build and then takes off. It’s a 2011 song, but it’s my best add of 2012, with “Suburban Soul Man” by The Master Plan a close second. That’s from 2010. What can I say, I’ve always been behind the times. I’ve cut way back on making new playlists, concentrating on making video montages for my best rides and special classes, but I’m still following the blog and I’m very pleased for your success.

    Bob Leventhal

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Thanks for the suggestions Bob! It’s always great to hear from you. Happy New Year!

  14. Ric Boltz Reply

    this is awesome…thanks so much for giving me new ideas for my classes

  15. Kelly Reply

    As always, such great information, and I love your list. Sometimes seeing a song here will give me the “courage” to use it in my class. I’ve had Breakn’ a Sweat on my iPod for a very long time and love it! I’m still working my way through exploring the Barbara Hoots’ 404 Best Indoor Cycling Songs from 2011! I’ve found some great songs on her list that I would never have come across any other way.

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Kelly, where did you find the 404 best cycling songs? I hadn’t come across this one. Will she do a list for 2012? (Good grief, I struggle with deciding on 25; if I had to decide on 404 you’d get my post some time in August.)

      1. Kelly Reply

        I know! It’s a crazy long list but worth sifting through (make notes along the way, so you don’t have to keep going back!, as I’ve learned). Find it at

  16. stevespinlist Reply

    Thanks for the post. Another great list…no surprise.

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Darnit, why doesn’t WordPress have a ‘Like’ button for posts like Ric’s and Steve’s? Thanks fellas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *