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Guest Post: Hallowe’en Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

halloween pumpkin bikeGot a note from intrepid California instructor Lisa Goldman asking if I would be interesting in sharing her Hallowe’en playlist with you.  My response?  Hell, yeah!  So, just in time for Hallowe’en week, here’s Lisa:

Confession time: I made a Halloween playlist about 7 years ago and I’ve recycled it every year since.  I figured, “Hey, who’s gonna remember what I played a year ago?”  Well, if not them, then me. I pulled out my trusty Halloween mix, and I just couldn’t do it this year. Not entirely anyway. Truthfully, this new playlist is only about 50% new. But once I ditched Monster Mash and Thriller, it felt 100% new. Besides, I used to make a joke about imagining being chased my Michael Jackson’s over-eager plastic surgeon during Thriller, and now that being chased by MJ’s doctor is actually terrifying, the joke doesn’t play that well anymore. Time for something new.

When I decided to make a new Halloween mix, I tried to go the lazy route, and crib off another teacher’s profile. I searched the web and came up with a few, but I couldn’t make them work for me. Turns out, I’m incredibly sensitive to matching the RPMs I cue to the beat of the song.  I know there are strong arguments for letting the training profile dictate the ride, instead of the music. But, asking me to pedal even slightly off the beat makes me crazy – like the reverse of asking someone to pat their head and rub their tummy – I just cannot do it myself, much less cue others to do so. (My compromise is the shift around my music to fit a profile that makes sense.) I did get some music inspiration from other instructors out there, but had to put together my own ride, Lisa-style.  It’s not my most favorite profile ever, but I think the Halloween music is fun for this time of year, and you can certainly play it up asking people to name the movie (several songs in this list come from movies), or asking other Halloween trivia, and passing out prizes, or as I plan to do, passing out Glo-necklaces for my night classes. Hope you enjoy – Happy Halloween!

[KEY: song time, total run time; BPM &/or RPM, effort level (easy/moderate/hard/very hard/breathless), Terrain (F= Flat, SC= seated climb, StC= Standing Climb, CH= Combo Hill, J= Jumps, RH= Rolling Hills),  + & – refers to increase or decrease in gear, ^ or v refers to increase or decrease in cadence.]

Warm Up

1)   Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead – 9:40, 9:40, 75-95 RPM; easy-moderate, F & SC. I use the first half of this song to let folks warm up on a F at whatever cadence they choose, gradually adding gear. By ~ 5 minutes in, I have people find enough gear to get the cadence to match the beat (75 RPM) and find a moderate hill.  [Cynthia: lots of peppier remixes of this one on iTunes, but this one’s the spookiest.]

STAGE 1 – 7+ minute hill, followed by ~3 minute F

2)   The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You – 3:12, 12:52; 67 RPM with some cadence pick ups for RH. Moderate – Hard.
Power Music – Tales From The Crypt Theme – 2:02, 14:54; 71 RPM, Hard, CH
Danny Elfman – Beetlejuice (Theme from “Beetlejuice”) – 1:54, 16:48; 75 RPM; very hard StC
Linkin Park – SKIN TO BONE – 2:49. 19:37; 80 RPM, easy-moderate. First recover from hill at easy, then find your way back to a moderate flat, bringing wattage back to where you finished your warm-up or slightly higher, but allow yourself to recover because we have a 17 minute hill next, followed by two short, but very steep hills after that. Lots of climbing today!

STAGE 2 – 16.5 minute hill, followed by ~3 minute F

3)   Deadmau5 – Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff – feat. Rob Swire – 5:29, 25:06, RPM 64, mod-hard, CH. Every time you come out of the saddle add ~2 gears, every time you sit back down, take off 1 gear (or half of what you added). [Cynthia: Love!]

4)   Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party – 6:22, 31:28, RPM 81, RH. St and +v, S and ^-. [Cynthia: Love!]

5)   101 Strings Orchestra – The Exorcist (Theme from Tubular Bells) – 4:23, 35:51; 74 RPM, SC with 4 passes (picking up 20-30 RPM, maxing at 100RPM – if you can go faster than that, you need more gear!) 1-1:15, 2-2:25, 3-3:25, 4-4:15.

6)   Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy – 2:45, 38:36; 90-110 RPM, easy-moderate FF with headwind + at chorus. [Cynthia: Love!  The perfect antidote to all the creepiness.]

STAGE 3 – 4 minute hill, 3 minute F, 5 minute hill with passes

7)   Harajuku – The Phantom of the Opera – 4:11, 42:47; 66 RPM, hard-very hard, CH. [Cynthia: Iron Maiden has a hard-driving song with the same title and it clocks in at 7:21.  Anyone brave enough to pull out Iron Maiden in cycling class?]

8)   Santana – Black Magic Woman – 3:16, 46:03; 80-110, FF, easy-mod

9)   Karl Jenkins, Marat Bisengaliev & West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra – Requiem: Dies Irae – 4:36, 50:39; RPM 61, very hard-breathless, StC with seated passes 20/15/15/35, ^ ~20 RPM and shoot for breathless at 1-1:20, 2-2:18, 3:05-20, and 4-end.  [Cynthia: Love!  See, this is why Lisa is the best.  How does she find this awesome music???]

Recovery & Cool Down

10)                  The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil – 6:18, 56:57

11)                  Mumford & Sons – Ghosts That We Knew 5:40, 1:02:37

Spotify Link: Halloween 2013

Hey folks, Cynthia again.  I was going to pull out MY good ‘ole Hallowe’en playlist that I’ve used every year since 2009 (in journalism these sorts of things are called ‘evergreen’ because they never lose their currency) but Lisa has inspired me to, if not completely rework it, at least play with it.  Hallowe’en playlists are flying thick and fast on Facebook indoor cycling groups, but like Lisa, I can’t simply co-opt someone else’s ride.  I need to make it my own first.  I’m not above shamelessly lifting great tunes, though.  Here are some of the best Hallowe’en cycling tunes I’ve encountered this year:

Cry Little Sister – The Anix (3:32):  Theme from The Lost Boys.  This one’s industrial metal; for a dancier version, check out the Mozart and Friends Remix (4:57).  Thanks to Jen Ward Horenziak for this one.

Maneater – Nelly Furtado (4:19):  This song was EVERYWHERE in 2006-07, plus Furtado is Canadian.  Thanks to Vicki Greenwood for reminding me of it.  (She used the dancier David Garcia and Morgan Page Remix).

Swamp Thing – The Grid (7:15):  I’ve used the 3:59 Radio Mix a few times, but man, was I delighted to see Vicki scared up (ha!) a longer version with the same driving beat.  High intensity intervals anyone?

Shivers (Radio Edit) – Armin van Buuren (3:09): or the full version at 7:33.  A tough connection to Hallowe’en other than the title but if you’re looking to add a little trance to your mix, this is a great bet.  Vicki…

Bleeding Out – Imagine Dragons (3:43):  Sometimes evergreen playlists can feel a little tired; this tune will inject an of-the-moment feel.  Plus it’s catchy.  Clearly, I owe Vicki Greenwood a latte.  This one’s hers, too.

Night Crawler – Judas Priest (5:44):  Not quite ready to rock out to Iron Maiden on the Spin bike?  This head-banger is perfect for high intensity intervals and you never know… you might find you have a few closet metal heads in your class.  This one is from Kathy Schiebe Leggitt.

This is Hallowe’en – Marilyn Manson (3:22):  Not exactly subtle, but that’s why I like it.  Another from Kathy.

Dragula – Rob Zombie (3:43):  Another industrial metal tune from Kathy – she and I are sympatico on this: industrial metal is great for indoor cycling.  (Go ahead, listen to Megalomaniac by KMFDM while cycling and you’ll see what I mean.)

Somebody’s Watching Me (Freakmatique Cut) – DJ Brian Howe (3:23):  An old standby I use for jumps.

Reader Di commented recently with a link to her Hallowe’en playlist here.  (I especially liked Scream, Bodies, and Run with the Wolves but you’ve got to check it out for details.)

And I can’t resist a link to ChrisSpin’s hot-off-the-presses Hallowe’en playlist here.

scooby-dooAs long as we’re on spooky, I am loving that my daughter (age 3.5) is really into Scooby Doo at the moment.  I downloaded the first season (1969) onto our iPad and we also have a Scooby Doo book that has become a go-to favourite for bedtime stories.  They are just the right level of spooky for a kid – it’s comforting that the monster is always captured and unmasked as a plain old person at the end.  I remember enjoying the show when I was little and I love that I can share Scoob and Shaggy and the gang with her.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!


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Mortal Kombat Cycling Mix – High Intensity Intervals (45 min)

fall_bike_rideI’ve been thinking about high intensity interval training (HIIT) for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate this wildly effective training tool into my classes.  Short, Tabata-style, intervals would have the working part of the ride over in 8 minutes… but my shortest class at the gym is 45 minutes long.  So I explored longer intervals, like 60 seconds on/60 off – which I’ve been doing for years – but mulled over the coaching aspect.  HIIT works best when exercisers push hard on their limits.  Seriously hard.  The working interval has been described as “extremely unpleasant”, “feeling like you’re about to puke”, and “feeling like you’re going to die.”  How could I motivate riders to go to such a brutal place in an indoor cycling class?  How could I accommodate riders of all levels in a HIIT class?

I was reading the newspaper on Monday (Toronto’s Globe and Mail) and came across this interesting article on HIIT.  The article relates a Queen’s University Study that had “two groups doing a cycling workout alternating 60 seconds hard with 60 seconds easy for eight to 10 repetitions. One group did the hard intervals at 100 per cent of peak power, while the other group used a more moderate intensity of 70 per cent of peak power. Both groups made gains in muscular and metabolic health, but in the most important health marker of aerobic fitness, the high-intensity group gained 27.7 per cent in three weeks while the moderate-intensity group gained just 11.0 per cent.”

Bingo.  I knew just what I needed to do, and I had a pretty good idea of how I’d coach it.  But crap, I didn’t have a HIIT profile in my book of rides.  I decided to turn one of my previous rides into a HIIT ride and chose the ride below, which I put together in response to a request by one of my most stalwart regulars for a Mortal Kombat ride.  I’d run it a couple of times but hadn’t even put it on the blog because, well, it was sort of meh.  Just okay.

And if I am being totally honest?  A lot of my classes lately have been just okay.  I’m working very long hours these days (1.5 FT jobs) and realized on the bike last week that I wasn’t enjoying the ride – my class was just another thing on my to too-long to-do list.  I’d lost my mojo.  I am a perfectionist.  I am not okay with just okay. 

It occurred to me: maybe it’s time to hang up the cycling shoes.  And then: Whoa.  Where did THAT come from?  I’ve never thought about quitting before.  I continued mulling it over on the way home when it hit me: it’s not just indoor cycling.  I’m not enjoying ANYTHING at the moment, because I am working too damn much.

Fortunately, this too shall pass.  The contract that’s got me squeezed (great work, just too much of it) ends on November 30 and life will return to… normal, or something like it.  (Assuming I don’t stupidly say “sure!” to the next shiny penny interesting project that comes along.)  For some reason, knowing why I’d lost my mojo was oddly comforting.

So today I pulled out this just okay ride and my teeny-weeny mojo and the ideas I had about how I might coach a HIIT ride.  I took the class sign up sheet and scrawled “High intensity intervals today!” across the top and I’m pretty sure I ended up poaching three or four riders from the extremely popular aerobics class that runs in the same time slot.

And you know what?  It worked.  By God, it worked.  It was a GREAT ride.  The best ride I’ve done in months.  And I could tell from the sucking wind and spontaneous whoops that my riders thought so too.

Now, the little ride that could is blog-worthy.  Here it is.

Sexual Healing (Original Mix) – Alibi vs. Rockefeller (6:53):  Warm up for the first four minutes while explaining the basic principles of HIIT.  I told the class we were going to do 5x 60 second high intensity intervals today but that to get the maximum benefit, they had to prepare themselves to take it beyond, to something that would feel “extremely unpleasant,” might make them drop f-bombs, “I think I’m gonna puke” territory.  “I want you to hate me when you finish this,” I told them.  Then I made a joke about my CPR being up to date.

I explained that if riders didn’t feel quite ready for “I’m gonna puke” there were still very good gains to be had even if the maximal effort was at 70% rather than 100% and as always, to ride their own ride.

When not working at high intensity, I asked riders to stay between 55-75% of maximum effort – enough to feel they were working but not so hard that it would be difficult to speak in complete sentences.

From 4:00 – 6:15 we moved into a fast flat, and from 6:15 – 6:53 slugged some water and prepared ourselves to begin.

Palladio (Symphony Mix) – Silent Nick (9:44):  Let’s start with a big hill.  (I didn’t say we’d do the intervals right away).  Hill first.  From 0 – 2:45 a standing climb; 2:45 – 3:10 break; 3:10 – 5:10 seated, heavy climb; 5:00 – 5:25 break; 5:25 – 6:45 standing climb; 6:45 – 7:20 seated climb; 7:20 – 9:20 standing climb; 9:20 – 9:44 recover.  Ha!  I distracted you with intervals and snuck in a 9 minute hill.

Control – Traci Lords of Juno Reactor (6:27):  Our first tune from the Mortal Kombat soundtrack.  A bit more recovery from 0 – 0:27, then let the high intensity intervals begin: 3x 60 second intervals with 60 seconds for recovery in between.  With the explanation I’d given, I could tell that the riders really were digging deeper, pushing harder, looking for that extremely unpleasant place.

At 6:15 we fell back to ride easy and suck wind until 6:27.  I checked in with them.  Did they get to that place?  I saw nodding heads.  I asked them to take as much time as they needed and join me when they felt ready to work again.

Jump (Malinchak Dub Mix) – Flo Rida (7:01): Jumps on a hill: 8 counts from 0 – 2:53, switching to 4 counts from 2:53 – 6:30 and moving to recovery from 6:30 – 7:01.  Remember, nothing over 75% here.  The hero stuff comes later.

Juke Joint Jezebel – KMFDM (5:16):  Another Mortal Kombat tune and a combo-drill: two standing climbs, two seated flats.  Climb from 0:15 – 1:15, seated flat from 1:15 – 2:15, back to climbing from 2:15 – 3:15, and a second flat from 3:15 – 4:15.  From 4:15 – 5:15 you could do a third standing climb, but if you’re heading in to the last two high intensity intervals, I’d take it for recovery and preparation.

Theme from Mortal Kombat – Utah Saints (3:00):  Two more high-intensity intervals: 60 seconds on, followed by 60 seconds off, and a final gruelling 60 seconds on.

Going Wrong – Armin van Buuren (5:36):  Cool down.  I told the class that while HIIT feels AWFUL while you’re doing it, many people say that once they’re done, they feel like a million bucks.  (“Like I just had a big poo!” one of the riders at the front volunteered.)  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that little tidbit of TMI so I just thanked them for riding with me (I always do) and said I hoped they enjoyed the ride.

I got great feedback – more than half the class made a point of stopping to tell me how much they liked it.  And you know what?  I felt like a million bucks for the rest of the day myself.

Are you using high intensity intervals in your classes?  How often?  How many?  How long are the intervals?  How much recovery in between?  What are your favourite songs to use for these intervals?

I’ll leave you with a bit of virtual archaeology.  A Facebook cycling group I belong to recently unearthed this 1995 Youtube gem: a supremely fit Johnny G, sporting a mullet and expounding on his brand new Spinning program.  The excitement from participants at fitness conferences is palpable.  “This is it,” one of them says.  (Look for a cameo by actor Kristin Davis, who was cast as Charlotte in the Sex and the City series in 1998.)


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Guest Post: Beautiful Day III Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2013Lisa Goldman has saved my bacon again with this brand-new playlist of kick-your-ass songs.  The profile is oh so simple: three hills and two flats, but then you look a bit closer and discover that hill #1 is more than 15 minutes long, hill #2 is 10 minutes long, and so is hill #3.  Urg.

I am loving this eclectic playlist that veers from rock (Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That) to blues (Black Sheep), from classic (Beautiful Day, The Joker (with a twist)) to brand new on the charts (Safe and Sound, Roar, Applause).  There’s something for everyone here, yet nothing in this ride plays it safe.

I get a lot of questions about how to construct profiles from newer instructors and Lisa has appended the first two versions of this playlist at the end of her post so you can see how it evolved.  As with any artistic endeavour, some of the songs are great for cycling but just didn’t fit with the others on the list (300 Violin Orchestra – check it out); others are good songs, but not as good a fit for cycling as Lisa first hoped.  Notice how the songs move around, how the basic feel of the playlist remains the same even as the songs change.  I also do variations on a theme playlists, but I treat them as one (in other words, I won’t usually pull out the same playlist or any of its variations more than once in a month.)

Massive props to Lisa for sharing this ride.  I’ve got a couple new rides in the can as well – look for those in the next few weeks.

Here’s Lisa:

Over my years teaching cycle I’ve put together many playlists. I used to have a system: each time I came across a song I was sure I wanted to use, I’d purchase it on iTunes and shift it over to a “new playlist in the making” file. It would take me approximately a month of surfing, sifting and listening in order to unearth enough gems to assemble an hour playlist. [Cynthia: this is how I do it, too.]  Although this system wasn’t ideal, it worked well enough and I had a groove, recycling past playlists while building and then integrating a new one every month or so. … And then came Spotify!  [Cynthia: Curse you, Spotify. When are you coming to Canada?]

Spotify has rocked my world. I’ve been using it for about one year now. I really love it. It’s allowed me to discover and experiment with more music, and vary my playlists more often. But, it’s like drinking from a fire hose for me.  The last few months I’ve gotten overwhelmed, drowning in hundreds of new songs I want to try and dozens of playlists “followed.”  I’ve lost my groove. There’s just not time to be so selective and love every single track I play. I feel a little like I have to relearn how to put together a playlist. I’m now taking more risks, playing music I’m not sure about, testing waters, gathering feedback, and then adjusting playlists as I go.

So, today, I’m sharing a playlist that I actually started putting together way back in the Spring. One of my regulars requested I use “Beautiful Day,” so that was the only non-negotiable in the playlist. I started collecting songs to work with it, but struggled to make it gel. I share this with you, just so other instructors know, sometimes it doesn’t come together that easily or quickly! (I suppose I’m a counter-point to the amazingly prolific and awesome Chris Spins, if you will.) Beautiful Day III, as the title implies, is my third and favorite iteration of this playlist, but versions I & II worked too. (I will post those at the bottom, in case you’re curious to see the evolution, or perhaps prefer some of the earlier versions).

[KEY: song time, total run time; BPM &/or RPM, effort level (easy/moderate/hard/very hard/breathless), Terrain (F= Flat, SC= seated climb, StC= Standing Climb, CH= Combo Hill, J= Jumps),  + & – refers to increase or decrease in gear, ^ or v refers to increase or decrease in cadence.]

Warm Up

1) Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic 3:26, 3:26; BPM 103/RPM 75-103, Easy-Moderate Flat, gradually increasing intensity until it’s more comfortable to breathe out of your mouth. Cue: strive for smooth, symmetrical pedal stroke. Side note: I first heard this song while listening to NPR. This artist is apparently a favorite of Michelle Obama’s and she’s played at the White House several times, including into the wee hours at the last inaugural ball.
2) Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That 3:31, 6:57; RPM 80-90, Fast Flat, moderate – hard, “drafting” and then pulling forward adding a bit of gear (+) and increasing cadence (^) ~10 RPM at :41-10, 1:20-42, 2:05-40. [Cynthia: I think this is my favourite song of the playlist.]

Hill 1

3) U2 – Beautiful Day 4:08, 11:05; 67 RPM -> ^~20RPMs into the 80s. SC hard with v. hard surges, + & ^ at: :56-1:13, 1:40-2:07, 2:50-3:45.
4) Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself) 4:14, 15:19; RPM 64, steady hard CH, + :40, :55, St 1:10, +1:25, -S 1:40, +2:05, + 2:20, + 2:30, + 2:50, St to end.
5) Capital Cities – Safe and Sound 3:13, 18:32, ~60RPM, CH mod-hard
6) Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had 3:46, 22:18, RPM 65, CH very hard-breathless, + & St at 0-:36, 1:05-2:09, 2:44-3:26 (30/60/45 with 30sec S in between)

7) Train – Bruises 3:52, 26:10, BPM 103/RPM 80-103, easy-moderate Flat, recover, then surge with a little + or ^ (or a little of both) at :52-1:20, 2-2:30, 3:05-3:40
8) The Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat 3:35, 29:45; RPM 89, mod-very hard Flat. 3 ~25sec “passes” increasing in intensity. +1 & ^10 at :47-1:09, +2 & ^ 1:49-2:16, +3 2:53-3:21. Cue: Remember: your RPMs only show me how fast your legs are moving, not how hard you are working – use your gear, not just your speed to increase intensity (see how that increases as you ratchet up the gear over these 3 intervals.)

Hill 2

9) Gin Wigmore – Black Sheep 3:04, 32:49; RPM 60 mod-hard. + every 30-60, should need to St by end.  [Cynthia: Folks who’ve been wanting more Amy Winehouse or Duffy should check out this New Zealander’s work.]
10) Stromae – Papaoutai 3:52, 36:41; RPM 58+, CH, hard-v. hard, St :48-1:23, 1:55-2:27, 3-3:35. Get to your steepest so far today. Cue: As this gets steeper, the pedal stroke should still look smooth, but it will feel stronger as it comes over the top. Side note: My French speaking students tell me that the lyrics are kind of depressing, but if you don’t know that, it has a great climbing beat!
11) OneRepublic – What You Wanted 4:01, 40:42; RPM 60, v. hard CH. Dig deep and keep adding. I like to give a goal here, visualize a sunset you’re trying to get to the top to see, or something else motivating. Last minute, were you really at your steepest? Add a little more – try!


12) Katy Perry – Roar 3:43, 44:25, RPM 92, easy-hard F. Get “fire” & + at :48-1:20, 1:55-2:38, 2:56-3:39.
Hill 3

13) Duck Sauce – It’s You 3:00, 47:25, RPM 65, Hard, Jumps on Hill  [Cynthia: I had a request for this song last week.]
14) Walk Off the Earth – REVO 3:51, 51:16, RPM 65 with accelerations, CH hard-v. hard. St, then S and “Go!”  :46-1:15, 1:50-2:20, 3:04-3:34
15) Lady Gaga – Applause 3:33, 54:49, RPM 70, Hard-v. hard-breathless, three 40sec “dial in” intervals, where you hold cadence for the first ~15sec, but + enough to get to very hard, then ^ to breathless for the remaining ~25.  :42-:56-1:15, 1:50-2:04-2:31, and 2:45-2:58-3:26.  Cue: This is the last push of the day, give me 3 really good ones. It’s tough, but it’ll be over very soon, so make the most of it and then enjoy the cool down you earned!

Cool Down

Fatboy Slim – The Joker – Edit 3:31, 58:20 [Cynthia: I had no idea that FBS had covered this Steve Miller tune.]
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Life Is Better With You 3:17, 1:01:37
Face – Looking For a Place to Land 4:47
Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
Fun. – Carry On

Previous Iterations:

Beautiful Day II

Train – Bruises
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That
U2 – Beautiful Day
Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)
The Police – King Of Pain – 2003 Stereo Remastered Version
Jorge Quintero – 300 Violin Orchestra
Lorde – Royals
The Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat
Gin Wigmore – Black Sheep
Stromae – papaoutai
OneRepublic – What You Wanted
Artists Against feat. Hedley, Simple Plan, Kardinal Offishall, Lights, Alyssa Reid, Fefe Dobson & Walk Off the Earth – True Colors (Note: I love this one, but as the teacher, you really have to up to coach them through this. It’s what Julz Arney would call a “Feeler.” When I used it, I allowed the class to recover, then talked a bit about the meaning of the song. It was a fundraiser for an anti-bullying campaign and it encourages us to honor our “true colors.” I asked people to give themselves 30 seconds to think about what their own “true colors” are, what excites them, and to take that energy into the last segment of class, and beyond, into the rest of their day. I had them add gear, as they found that energy.)
Duck Sauce – It’s You
Walk Off the Earth – REVO
Lady Gaga – Applause
Fatboy Slim – The Joker – Edit
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Life Is Better With You
Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
Fun. – Carry On

Beautiful Day I

Bonde do Rolê feat. Rizzle Kicks – Danзa Especial
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That
Say Hi – Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh
Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)
The Police – King Of Pain – 2003 Stereo Remastered Version
Jorge Quintero – 300 Violin Orchestra
Vampire Weekend – Taxi Cab
The Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat
Gin Wigmore – Black Sheep
Django Django – Default
OneRepublic – What You Wanted
Artists Against feat. Hedley, Simple Plan, Kardinal Offishall, Lights, Alyssa Reid, Fefe Dobson & Walk Off the Earth – True Colors
Pentatonix – Starships
Fun. – Out on the Town – Bonus Track
U2 – Beautiful Day
Fatboy Slim – The Joker – Edit
Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
Fun. – Carry On


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The 70s are That-a-way Cycling Mix (58 minutes)

70s bikesMy Wednesday night riders have been asking for lots of different genres… most recently a 70s ride.  “Disco?” I asked.  “Half disco,” was the response I got.  So I started working on a 70s ride.  The rule: every song had to come out in the 1970s.  I checked each one on Wikipedia (and in fact, gnashed my teeth over losing a bunch of great tunes that inexplicably came out in 1968 or 1969 and in 1980.)

This ride is half disco, half rock ‘n roll.  Each half features 11 minutes of rolling hills, separated by 9 minutes of (mostly) flat road in between.

Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles (4:14): We’ll start by warming up in 1979.  This song will forever remind me of going to the roller arena and skating in circles, hoping the crush du moment would ask you to skate while a disco ball threw sparkles all over the rink.  It cost $2 (most of my allowance) to get in each week but I went anyway.  Pick up the pace by 10% during each chorus.

Mamma Mia – ABBA (3:31):  I’d lose all credibility if I did a disco ride without ABBA.  This one’s from 1975 and it starts us off on 11 minutes of rolling hills.  Come on up out of the saddle and we’ll tweak the tension up/up/up/down/down/down (basically, I coach a resistance change every 15-60 seconds, with the challenge being to ride at a steady cadence over varying resistance.)  Offer the option of a seated climb at any point.

Disco Inferno – The Trampps (3:39):  More rolling hills.  I used this song only grudgingly, as it reminds me of one of my first indoor cycling instructors.  I went to her classes for more than a year.  As far as I could tell, she had three CDs and simply rotated them.  There was not one new song, or new profile, the entire year. (You’d never do that, right?)  This song figured prominently on one of the CDs and I heard it enough for a lifetime back then.

YMCA – The Village People (3:45):  See my comments above about having my street cred revoked if I didn’t work it into a 70s ride somewhere.  This 70s anthem has survived as a wedding reception perennial.

Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees (4:46):  Rolling Stone tapped this 1977 hit as #191 for the Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  (#1?  Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan.  Really?!?)  It’s perfect for 8-count jumps on a hill (resistance at 8/10).. if you’re badass, take it double-time at the choruses.


Does Your Mother Know – ABBA (3:17):  I’m breaking all the rules including two songs by the same group and the funny thing is, I wasn’t even a fan of ABBA back in the 70s.  (I was more into Billy Joel, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.)  This one’s a fast, seated flat.  It will feel really good after all that climbing.

We Will Rock You – Queen (2:02):  We transition from disco to rock with another anthem.  This is the seated climb in the middle, to Freddie Mercury’s soaring vocals.

Crocodile Rock – Elton John (3:55):  Back to 1973 for this cheerful ditty that featured in a wedding dance scene in one of my all-time favourite movies, Four Weddings and A Funeral.  This is the other half of the seated flat that we started with ABBA.

Back in the USSR – The Beatles (2:42): This 1976 UK single starts off the second 11 minute segment of rolling hills.  Once again, remind riders that they can choose a seated climb at any point.

You Really Got Me – Van Halen (2:39): Yes, yes, I know the Kinks did it first (1964) but that’s no good to me in a 70s ride, so I used the Van Halen version from 1978.

It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll) – AC/DC (5:02):  Okay, the metal head in me loves that I worked some AC/DC into this ride.  Bonus points for the title.  This tune came out in 1975, only a couple of years after AC/DC formed.  If you’re climbing and minding your own business and you think, “are those BAGPIPES?” yes, yes they are.  According to Wikipedia, the band’s producer encouraged lead singer Bon Scott to take up the pipes for this song even though he’d never played a note on them.  Scott used the pipes during live shows until the following year when he set them down too close to the edge of the stage and they were destroyed by fans.  The band went with a tape recording after that.

Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 – Pink Floyd (3:59):  We leave the 11 minutes of hills behind and move into some more jumps on a hill, back up to 8/10 and 8 counts again for this anthem for disaffected youth.

Gallows Pole – Led Zeppelin (4:56):  This one was for Ray, one of my regular riders.  It offers 60 seconds of recovery, followed by an out of the saddle climb from 0:60 – 4:40 (or you could do a combo climb/surge, switching up every 45 or 60 seconds.  He was beaming when we finished and I think he won some folks over as Led Zep fans.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia – The Charlie Daniels Band (3:44):  Shamelessly cribbed this sprint-to-the-finish from a former colleague, Fabia, for whom it was a signature tune.  Four seated sprints of 20/35/30/30 seconds at 0:56 – 1:17, 1:32 – 2:06, 2:18 – 2:46 and 3:07 – 3:40.  Year? 1979.  (Whew, that was close.)

Dust in the Wind – Kansas (3:26): This cool down song evokes powerful memories of my early years as a DJ for my high school radio station.  The station didn’t have a lot of money (okay, any money) so we had to spin the same 20 albums over… and over… and over.  I played Dust in the Wind dozens, maybe hundreds of times but it’s just as haunting a reminder of our mortality as it ever was.

I’m a Believer – Neil Diamond (2:43): Taking it back to 1971 for the stretching and goodbye music.  I didn’t appreciate Diamond’s genius as a songwriter until I heard other people covering his songs, which are enormously popular even now in the bars of my home town.  This one has a special place in my heart because I was a giant Monkees fan in the 70s and while Diamond did well with this song, The Monkees knocked it out of the park.  It was the #1 hit of 1966 and the biggest-selling record of 1967, one of fewer than 40 singles to have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

70s bikes III had fun with this ride and it was great to hear the biggest hits of the decade in one place.  Honestly, has any decade since produced songs with this kind of longevity? 

I didn’t quite manage a song from each year – you’ll notice 1972 and 1974 are missing.  Why’d I put disco first?  My first draft had the rock first but I really wanted to finish up with The Devil Went Down to Georgia and I didn’t want to mix up disco and rock (though a disco v. rock ride would be fun, too).  My next mission?  Another regular rider asked me for 90s boy bands. (I don’t know if my male regulars would tolerate an entire class of 90s boy bands.  I have no idea what I’d have to do to make amends for that.)  I trolled through iTunes for an hour last week and while there are tons of hits from these bands, few of them work for cycling.  Just gonna have to keep looking.  Got any ideas?


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A Tour de France Primer

If you’ve been wondering about the Tour, here is a great overview in one ten-minute Youtube video:


Thanks to guest-poster Lisa Goldman for this one!