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Christmas / Holiday Indoor Cycling Mix (45 minutes)

santa-with-bicycleI love to do something special in my classes around the holidays, so for the last week of classes before the holidays, I use a holiday playlist and give out chocolates afterward.  There are enough holiday tunes out there to make a full class, but be warned – a little holiday music goes a long way.  I usually only use a handful of holiday songs and try to pick songs that won’t be on heavy rotation at the mall.  I fill in the rest of the playlist with a mix of (mostly) songs from the year gone by.  Here’s my holiday class for 2014.  It’s an interval profile heavy on jumps and climbing, with only one sprint that comes right at the end.

The Nights – Avicii (2:57):  Warm up.

Under Control (feat. Hurts) – Calvin Harris & Alesso (3:04): Another minute of warm up, and at 1:00, add some tension and come out of the saddle into a standing climb.

Strong – Arno Cost and Norman Doray (5:54): A combo seated flat/standing climb, one minute of each, 3 sets.  This is a long working interval, especially if you move right to it from the previous song.

Oh Come All Ye Faithful – Weezer (2:05): Okay, now this is just totally mean: 8 count double-time quad-killing jumps (like a series of short standing runs), at moderate resistance takes us to 10 minutes of work before the first break comes into sight.

Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) – Mr. Probz (3:28): Ahhhh… recovery.  As much as you like.  The whole song, if you need it. When you’re ready to work again, find a flat road, close your eyes, and just ride.  It’s just you and the bike.

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift (3:39):  I love the message in this song, “oh the haters gonna hate…. shake it off…”  I was in my 20s before I truly accepted that not everyone is going to like me, or what I do, and it really has nothing to do with me.  That’s just how it is.  8 count jumps, moderate resistance.

I Bet My Life - Imagine Dragons (3:13): Move into a seated climb for this sweet ode to parents and parenting difficult children (confession: I was one of those – sorry mom).  Lead singer Dan Reynolds croons, “I know I took the path that you would never want for me/I know I let you down, didn’t I?/So many sleepless nights/Where you were waiting up on me … I’ve told a million lies/But now I tell a single truth/There’s you in everything I do.”  Holidays and family occasions can be … complicated.

Fireball (feat. John Ryan) – Pitbull (3:55): Now, in contrast, there’s nothing complicated about Pitbull or his music.  It’s all about partying, or women, or for variety, partying and women.  8 count jumps.  (Crikey, more jumps?)  Yep.

Love Runs Out – OneRepublic (3:45): Here comes one mother of a hill.  Seven minutes to the top.  Find a moderate-hard hill and dig in.  Stand and attack at each chorus.

Break Free (feat. Zedd) – Ariana Grande (3:35): Adjust the tension to a comfortable challenge level and tackle the rest of the hill standing.  Who had a better 2014 than Ariana Grande, except maybe Iggy Azalea?

Run Rudolph Run – Bryan Adams (2:43): Finish with a bike race.

All About That Neis – Maccabeats (2:44): It wouldn’t be the holidays without this a cappella group and their tongue-in-cheek Hanukkah parodies of the year’s most popular songs.  Cool down.

Winter Wonderland – Tony Bennett (2:12): Some additional cool down, stretching and goodbye music.  Substitute any favourite holiday song here.

It’s getting quiet at the gym.  I had only half the usual number of riders in my class today.  But we all know we’re only a couple of weeks from the complete chaos of every gym in January. 

Every year, I set goals for myself in a number of different areas, including teaching indoor cycling and this blog.  Last year, my indoor cycling goals were (1) to increase ridership in my classes, (2) learn the names of all of my regulars, and (3) support new riders in making exercise a habit.  (My goal for the blog was to create and launch the new and improved Bike Cafe – yay! completed just in time.)  

To reach my indoor cycling teaching goals, I created Cynthia’s Cycling Challenge 2014 and announced it at the outset of class for the first two or three weeks in January.  The challenge was simple: complete 12 indoor cycling classes in 12 weeks and win a prize package.  I printed business cards at home that had room for each rider’s name and the numbers 1-12.  When they signed up for the challenge, I put their name on a card and gave them a check mark on the card at the end of each class.  (Of course, I hoped they’d take my cycling classes, but I wasn’t fussy – if they told me they’d been to another cycling class, I gave a check for that one, too.) 

About two dozen riders signed up and the results were pretty much what you’d expect: some got one check mark and I never saw them again, others got to three or four checks before dropping out.  One inexplicably completed the challenge and never returned to collect her prize.  In the end, half of the participants completed the challenge, which I thought was pretty good, and about two-thirds of the participants remain regular or semi-regular riders in my classes.  And I know all of their names now!

In early April, after the challenge was complete, I made up a prize package for each successful rider with a Certificate of Completion, a CD of my favourite workout songs, half a dozen healthy recipes, a copy of Nutrition Action magazine, and some swag from my gym (a t-shirt and head band).  If you haven’t seen Nutrition Action magazine, you should check it out.  It’s the publication of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit consumer watchdog in the field of food, health science, and nutrition.  They’re sort of like the Consumer Reports for food.  They summarize the latest science plus review and rank foods, which definitely makes it easier to choose healthier foods at the grocery store, even if you’re a consummate label reader.

I’m going to run an Indoor Cycling Challenge again in 2015, but with a twist: I am going to ask each participant to set his or her own goal for the challenge.  I found that one class a week was too easy for those who were already regulars (my most regular rider hit 12 classes about 3 weeks into the challenge), and I want to offer something for them, too.  I will also collect email addresses and send out a short weekly note with a couple of health or fitness tips and maybe a preview of my playlist for the next class.

How about you?  What are your indoor cycling goals for 2015?


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Up and Down the Ladder Cycling Mixes (50 minutes)

ladder bikesMixes (plural)?  Yep, I’m going to bust out of this long hiatus with not one but two new playlists, both based around the same profile.

I’ve been experimenting a bit with Spinning-style rides; that is, rides where the music is superimposed on a profile and where the music doesn’t always support the work.  I got the ladder idea from the indefatigable Chris over at Chrispins (check out one of her ladder profiles here) who, in turn, got her idea from someone over at Pedal On.

My version is made up of three 10 minute “ladders” plus a warm up and cool down.  Each ladder starts with a standing climb up to the top:

30 seconds on/30 recovery (seated)

40 seconds on/30 recovery

50 seconds on/30 recovery

60 seconds on/30 recovery

Now, we head down the ladder with a fast seated flat:

60 seconds on/30 recovery

50 seconds on/30 recovery

40 seconds on/30 recovery

30 seconds on/30 recovery

Then we start the whole thing again for ladder #2.  I inserted a jump song at the end of ladder #2  for variety and to introduce a longer working interval.  After the jumps, we move on to ladder #3 and finish as usual with a cool down and some stretching.

Here’s the playlist I used for the first Up and Down the Ladder class:



Prayer in C (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) – Lilly Wood & The Prick & Robin Schulz (3:09): Schulz’s remix topped the charts in 21 countries this year and made the Top 40 in both the USA and Canada.  Ride easy to this finger-tappin’ warmup while you explain the day’s profile.  For new riders or those who’ve been off the bike for a while, the news that there is only one working interval longer than 60 seconds will come as a relief.  Regular riders will need to push during the working intervals and ensure they need the breaks when they come, or they may not find it challenging enough.  I coached them to push for something that feels just-short-of-breathless in each working interval.

I’ve structured the playlist so that the music will mostly – 90-95% – support riders’ effort, but there are a few spots in this ride where riders will still need to work when the music slows down or fades.  In those situations, it’s mind over matter.  I like to warn them to expect this and focus on maintaining their effort.

Ladder #1: Dueling DJs

Fine Without You – Armin van Buuren (6:26): Currently the #3 DJ in the world, according to DJ Magazine.

Long Road to Hell – Avicii (3:43): Currently the #6 DJ in the world, but he’s a mere pup, born in 1989 to van Buuren’s old-timer status (born 1976).

You’ll notice each ladder is made up of one longer song and one shorter song totaling about 10 minutes.

Ladder #2: Guitars and Drums

Swamp Thing – The Grid (7:15): Heading back to the ’90s for this ladder, Swamp Thing was released in 1993.  (This is the song people ask me about after class.) Yee-hahs optional.

Drum Trip – Rusted Root (3:45): Released in 1994.


Jump (Malinchak Dub Mix) [feat. Nelly Furtado] – Flo Rida (7:01): I’m gonna go out on a limb here and theorize that Flo Rida has taken an indoor cycling class or two. 4 count jumps, moderate resistance – basically, anything in the range of 65-75% of riders’ maximum capacity is fine with me.  This is what I’d call a comfortable challenge – it’s work, you know it’s work, but it’s not hard work.  Riders should be able to converse in full sentences.

Ladder #3: Techno v. Metal

This ladder is a shout out to two of my regular riders, one who loves trance, and the other who can’t get enough metal.  I like both genres, but I think I might be the only person in the universe who does.

Blade (Jon Doe & Kutski Remix) [feat. Red Monkey] – Warp Brothers (6:51): We don’t know why it’s called Blade, because the song is entirely instrumental.

Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crüe (4:43): We do know what this song’s about.  Nikki Sixx wrote it about a 1987 drug overdose in which he was declared dead but was revived by a paramedic.  We won’t mention that bit in class.  Or the bit where the song was used in an episode of The Office when Dwight gets pumped up before meeting a client.  BTW, if you haven’t seen the clip where Dwight takes over an indoor cycling class, you can watch it here.


ART OFFICIAL CAGE – Prince (3:42): Some new Prince!

Dangerous – David Guetta (3:21): Some extra time for cool down and stretching.



I got really good feedback from my class on my first ladder class so I decided to run the ladder ride again a couple of weeks later with a different playlist.  I think I might even like this playlist  a teensy bit more than the first one.


The Days – Avicii (4:38): Goodygoodygoody, a new Avicii song.  That’s Robbie Williams on vocals.  Dare you not to tap your feet to this sunny, upbeat tune.

Ladder #1:

I’ve kept the idea of a longer and a shorter song in each ladder, but reversed them for this profile so that the shorter song comes first.

Blame (feat. John Newman) – Calvin Harris (3:33): More new music (released September 2014) from Scotland’s Harris, who might have come in at #11 on DJ Magazine’s Top 100 poll but was the highest paid DJ in the world this year according to Forbes magazine, which reported that the 30 year old Harris pulled in a cool $66 million dollars – more than double the take of the #2 DJ on the list, David Guetta, who earned a paltry $30 million in comparison.

Pistolero – Juno Reactor (6:14): I’ve had this song on my on deck list for a while, so I was delighted to finally use it.  It has a Latin vibe and great energy.

Ladder #2:

Dangerous (feat. Sam Martin) [Robin Schulz Remix] [Radio Edit] – David Guetta (3:21): New Guetta, released in October 2014.

Tosh (Gosh) – Fluke (6:31): Dates from 1995 but when the drums kick in at 0:45, its relentless.


Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) – Mark Ronson (4:31): Brand new (released in November 2014) and hovering near the top of the iTunes chart.  Everybody needs a little funk now and then.  Four count jumps.  As with the previous profile, anything that riders can call ‘work’ with a straight face works for me.  New riders might prefer to ride easy and just recover before the final ladder.

Ladder #3:

Divine Sorrow (feat. Avicii) – Wyclef Jean (4:39):  A new song from Haiti’s Jean, the proceeds from which will benefit the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  I’ve been sweet on Jean since his 2008 tribute to Venus Williams in I’m Ready in which he urges her, “don’t stop, even if you clash with the Titans.”  It’s a rare song about a woman that has nothing to say about her beauty or appearance but instead celebrates that she’s a “master of all turfs” and that her “serve is like lightning.”  If you like, you can swap out Waves or Rather Be and use it for one of your cool down songs.

Strong – Arno Cost and Norman Doray (5:54): Finish up with some inspirational lyrics and a cheeky, cheeky disco vibe.


Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) – Mr. Probz (3:28): A beautiful, comtemplative song.  This would be a great track to just close your eyes and ride.

Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit (3:48): from the lilting beat to the strings and the backup vocals, it’s pop perfection.  When I first heard Rather Be in a shop, I couldn’t wait to Shazam it to find out the title and artist.  (Yep, I’m that weird person holding her iPhone up to the speaker in the ceiling.)

Other Uses for Ladders

Both of these playlists have lots of energy and would probably work well with a number of different profiles.  Any of the six single ladders (2 songs) will also work well if you need to expand one of your own rides to fill a longer class.  I subbed a 55 minute early morning class a few weeks ago, and since my lunch time classes are all 45 minutes long, I needed to add 10 minutes to the ride I planned to use.  I added a single ladder to the end of a different ride and hey presto, a 55 min ride.

And a confession…

Loose_Leaf_Premium_TeaAugh, I know I promised an iTunes widget so folks can preview songs right from the blog.  But I can’t &%?&? figure out how to insert it, and it’s nearly 11:00 p.m. on a Sunday night, so I’m going to have to call Dave Moore (a.k.a. my web guru), and edit this post to add one later.  I neglected to mention that web guruing is actually Dave’s sideline – his main gig is Satya Tea.  The company tagline is Liquid Wisdom.  I don’t know if I’m any wiser for drinking the tea, but it is some of the best tea I’ve ever had.  The Jasmine Sunset Green tea is heaven in a cup and they have a delicious Oolong tea called Iron Goddess.

Look for an updated post with an iTunes widget this week, along with a Christmas Ride.  And stay tuned for The Bike Cafe’s annual Top 25 Indoor Cycling Tunes of 2014 before year-end.  What were your favourite indoor cycling songs of 2014?


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Welcome to the Bike Café!

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.52.14 AMSame blog, new name and location!  After 6.5 years and 3.6 million views, Spinning Music has become The Bike Café and moved to  (When you visit the blog from now on, you’ll automatically get redirected to the new site.)

When you check out the Bike Café, you’ll find some major improvements:

– All posts and profiles are now printer-friendly. (Just click on the printer or PDF buttons at the bottom right of each post).  The PDF prints a longer document with a larger font, while the Print widget is more compact.

– The Reader Playlist page and Bike Café page have both become forums.  No more clunky loading, plus the ability to comment on topics separately.  Most important, the forums are searchable, so if you remember seeing a great theme ride, you can find it quickly and easily when you need it.  The forums will look skimpy at first, but will soon be filled with kick-butt playlists and profiles and great advice from indoor cycling instructors worldwide.  Meanwhile, you can access all previous Reader Playlist and Bike Café posts under the Forum Archive tab.  Those contributions are now separated into pages so they should load faster than before.  Unfortunately, we were not able to extend the search function to the archives or to comments but most of the blog content is included.

–  Social media integration.  The Bike Café now has a Facebook page (like it to receive new posts there!) and you can follow me on Twitter @thebikecafe1.

– Mobile compatibility.  The site is now optimized for mobile viewing.

– iTunes playlists for new profiles going forward, so you can preview songs and decide what you like right from the blog.  (This is probably the #1 request I’ve had over the years.)

– Edited links.  I’ve placed the freshest, most recently updated sites at the top of the list of other sources for indoor cycling profiles and playlists and moved the links for sites that are no longer being updated to the bottom of the list.  (There’s still good stuff there, which is why I kept the links.)  For sites that are no longer being updated, I list the month and year of the last update if you hover on the link.

– Most posts, more often.  I’ve been holding off on creating new posts during the transition (which has taken way longer than I thought – sorry about that!)  I have 15 profiles in the hopper and will be posting more frequently – about once every week or two – until they are up to date.  Once up to date, you can expect one or two new posts per month.  If you subscribed to Spinning Music, no worries – all 1,830 subscribers have been transferred to The Bike Café.  Unfortunately, I was not able to transfer over those who’ve subscribed to comments only.  If you are still interested in following a particular post rather than the blog as a whole, you’ll need to re-subscribe.  All you need to do is navigate to the post, scroll down to the bottom left, click on subscribe, then enter your e-mail address.

So far, The Bike Café tests fine in Google’s Chrome browser and in Firefox but we haven’t tested it in all browsers.  If you experience technical issues, try a different browser.  Please leave a comment or e-mail me at bikecafeblog [at] gmail [dot] com to let me know about any issues so we can fix them.

Why’d you change the name of the blog?  I like Spinning Music.

I do, too.  When I started blogging in 2008 I inadvertently chose an easy, descriptive name that became the #1 search result on Google for the terms “spinning music”.  But Spinning is a trademarked term, and the folks over at Mad Dogg Athletics (who own the trademark) asked me to change it, so I did.

I see ads now!  What’s up with that?

WordPress always incorporated some ads into their free blogs, but you might notice more ads now.  Hopefully they will remain unobtrusive.  Right now, I am using Chitika, but I will likely move to Google AdSense in 2015.  I decided to include ads on the site for three reasons.  First, I want to be able to devote more time to the site, and that becomes easier to do if there is a revenue stream coming from it.  The blog will always be a labour of love for me and it’s been entirely a volunteer effort for the past six and a half years.  I am looking forward to being able to set aside more time for it on a regular basis.  Second, I am not exactly a tech guru.  I knew what I wanted to do to improve the blog but not how to do it.  I enlisted the help of web designer extraordinaire Dave Moore, over at ShadesColour to do the heavy lifting for me, and I think he did a great job.  (Mobile compatibility was Dave’s idea.) Thanks for pulling me into the 21st century, Dave!  Third, I love free content, and I want the content at The Bike Cafe to remain free forever.  No pay walls or subscriptions or premium memberships.  Just kick-butt profiles and playlists and the same amazing community of indoor cycling instructors from around the world.

What’s the donation button all about?

It’s my stab at crowd-funding for the site improvements.  If you enjoy the site and use the profiles and playlists in your classes and you’d like to contribute, there’s now a way to do so via PayPal.

When will you post your next ride?

Very soon!  Look for it this week.

Dave and I have worked hard on this over the past few months and I really hope you like the changes.  I’d love to know what you think.  You can leave a comment on this post, or e-mail me at bikecafeblog [at] gmail [dot] com.  C’mon over to The Bike Café, order a latte, and hang out for a while.

Warm regards,




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Important News about Regular Contributor Lisa Goldman

Folks, I have important news to share.  Longtime Spinning Music contributor and guest-blogger Lisa Goldman has just been handed the fight of her life.  In January 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

Lisa GoldmanLisa first guest-blogged at Spinning Music way back in 2010 when I took a mat leave from indoor cycling after having my daughter, but was a regular commenter long before that.  You can find her very first guest post here.  Lisa also guest-posted one my all-time favourite rides, the Sh*tload of Climbing Ride, here.  Over the years, we’ve been in touch via e-mail and Facebook and discovered we have a lot more in common than our love of indoor cycling.  We’re both 40-something moms of young kids, lawyers who’ve found a path outside the traditional practice of law, both with interests in nutrition, photography, reading, and a keen love of handmade ceramic mugs.  If we lived closer than 6,000 km apart (that’s 3,700 miles for American readers), I know she and her husband Eric would be regulars on the back deck, and no doubt my husband Terry would do his level best to convert them from vegetarianism to his love of barbeque.

Lisa has decided to blog about her experience over at Every Breath I Take: A Blog About My Journey With Lung Cancer. She gave her permission for me to tell you about her diagnosis and link to her blog.  Lisa has chosen to blog about this very personal subject for two important reasons: first, to spread awareness of the early symptoms of lung cancer (hers wasn’t caught until nearly three months after she first experienced symptoms) and second, to advocate for more attention, research and funding for this stigmatized disease and to remove the stigma.  Nobody deserves to get cancer.

Early lung cancer can masquerade as a bad cold involving chest congestion, coughing and body aches.  It might look like a lingering dry cough you can’t shake, or be misdiagnosed as pneumonia.

Lung cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA yet it is the least-funded of the major cancers in terms of research dollars per death, in part because of the notion that it is self-inflicted. (In Canada, only 7% of cancer research-funding and fewer than 1% of cancer donations are directed to fighting Canada’s deadliest and most common cancer.  That’s not a typo.)

Did you know that 80% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers, just like Lisa?  In North America, 15-20%, like her, have never smoked?  In Asia, 30-40% of lung cancer patients have never smoked.  In Lisa’s words, “Lung cancer can strike anyone with lungs.”  Did you know that women are 1.5 times more likely to develop lung cancer than men, and that lung cancer – not breast cancer – is the deadliest cancer for women?  Did you know that an estimated 15% of all lung cancers are caused by exposure to radon gas, in our homes, schools and workplaces?  Other causes include exposure to second-hand smoke, asbestos and other substances, as well as genetics.  (All stats are from the Lung Cancer Canada website.)

What can you do?  Lots, actually.

First, you can support Lisa by sending prayers and good vibes to her and Eric and their kids and by following her journey via her blog.  Lisa’s blog is not set up to accept comments but you can send well-wishes to her by commenting on this post.  I will forward a link to her when I post it, and she can sign up to receive notification of comments on the post.  She is using all of her energy to fight this cancer, so she will not be able to respond to you personally, but if you ever wonder whether your support makes a difference, Lisa explains what this support means to her here.

Second, learn and memorize the early symptoms of lung cancer.  Chest CT scans are the latest tool for early detection and it was a chest CT that caught Lisa’s cancer.

Third, if you or anyone you love still smokes, do whatever you can to support them in quitting.  (Full disclosure: I started smoking in high school in a misguided attempt to appear cool.  I quit nearly 20 years ago, but I still remember exactly how hard it is to quit.  Honestly?  Giving birth was easier.  A lot easier.  So was completing law school.)

Fourth, do what you can to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.  Most North Americans now live in communities where all indoor smoking is banned in public places but if you live in another country, or with a smoker, it may still be an issue.

Fifth, find out if radon gas is a problem in your area.  (It is idiosyncratic and levels can vary widely among houses on the same street.)  If radon is present in your neighbourhood, get your home tested for radon gas and ask if your workplace or school has been tested.  If your home, school or workplace is high in radon, effective remediation options exist.

Sixth, reach into your pocket today and make a donation to lung cancer research in your country - in Canada, you can donate online here: and in the USA, here:

Last, talk about lung cancer.  Tell the riders in your classes.  Share this post.  Help erase the stigma.  Ask your riders to consider making a donation if they can.  This blog had more than 400,000 visitors last year.  If each visitor told one class of 20 riders about lung cancer and shared Lisa’s story, we would reach more than 8 million people in 189 countries.  And folks, that’s a movement.

Big hugs and props to you Lisa, my dear, witty, intelligent, passionate, brave, all-round fabulous friend.  F*ck cancer.


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Spinning Music’s Top 25 Cycling Tunes of 2013!

bike shenanigansHello 2014!  It was another great year over here at Spinning Music, holding steady at 870,000 views (the blog passed the 3,000,000 view mark on January 6, 2014) and collecting visitors from 189 countries in 2013.  (I love hearing from you!)  Nearly half the traffic (426,774 views) came from the USA, 97,883 views from the UK, and 68,614 from Canada (my home).  In South America, Brazil leads with 7,087 views; in Africa, South Africa takes it with 6,659 views.  In continental Europe, Germany leads with 35,547 views, and in Asia (the continent with the least number of views) India leads with 1,380 views.  Hey, the blog even got 7 views from tiny Liechtenstein.

top5The top rides of 2013 were: Work Hard Play Hard Cycling Mix (2013 – 6,439 views), Gonna Make You Sweat Cycling Mix (a perennial fave) (2008 – 6,230 views), Rock ‘n Roll Cycling Mix (2009 – 4,961 views), Best of 2012 Cycling Mix (2012 – 4,941 views) and Rumour Has It Cycling Mix (2012 – 4,803 views).  I think my personal favourite rides of the year were Lisa Goldman’s S**tload of Climbing ride and my Mortal Kombat HIIT ride, which for me, will always be the ride that brought my mojo back.

Top referring sites (thank you!) were YouTube (I was initially confused about this, since I don’t post there.  Where are thousands of hits coming from?  The vast majority of the traffic comes from folks who watch Workout Music Service (not affiliated with me) but I couldn’t find a link).  The other top referrers are The Sufferfest, (the blog of Dutch cyclist Pierre Gorissen), Spinning Mixes (awesome, because J.R. Atwood retired his blog in 2009 – I love that it’s as relevant as it ever was), and Pinterest (also not somewhere I post, but more understandable than YouTube).  YouTube and ActiveGeek are both new; the others are repeat top-referrers.  Dave McQuillen over at the Sufferfest has been so successful with his site (he produces awesome training rides with music, cues, and video of races) he actually quit his day job in 2012 to devote himself to suffering full-time.  (Congratulations, Dave!)

Props and a huge thank you to the top five commenters who shared their indoor cycling experience and fantastic taste in music this year: Lisa Goldman (who has also become a friend off-blog notwithstanding that we live 6,000 km apart), Judy, Kelly, BAR, and SteveSpinList.  You rock.  Steve heads up a blog with the catchy title For The Ride Inside (dammit, why didn’t I think of that one?) and he’s prolific, too – he’s already added six posts in 2014.  Go check it out.

2013 was the year that Spotify took over (check out their Ultimate Workout Playlist), but we sad Spotify-less Canadians have to resort to Mozilla plug-ins to even be able to sample Spotify songs.  (Hey, at least I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore, frantically switching from a Spotify playlist in my browser window to iTunes to check out new music.)

Top 25 Spinning Tunes2013 also happened to be a GREAT year for indoor cycling music (dare I say, the best year since I started teaching in 2008?)  I had a heck of a time choosing my top 25 indoor cycling songs of the year.  I’ve been writing and re-writing and scribbling my list since late December 2013.

1.  Wake Me Up – Avicii (4:10): Far and away my favourite cycling song of the year for its four big, juicy, happy, sprint intervals.  (I’m not alone here – it went to #1 in 22 countries.)  In fact, I’ll come out and say Avicii’s True album is the best album of the year for indoor cycling music.  Buy it.

2.  Best I Ever Had – Gavin DeGraw (3:46):  Four sprint intervals, a great seated flat, high energy blue-eyed soul, I am all about this Gavin DeGraw hit.

3.  Counting Stars – OneRepublic (4:17):  A seated flat from heaven.

4.  How I Feel – Flo Rida (2:50):  Darn, Flo Rida keeps coming up with these great beats.  I used this one for a climb but it would also be a killer song for jumps.

5.  Timber (feat. Ke$ha) – Pitbull (3:24):  I am pretty sure this ear-worm is not actually about trees, or lumber, or forestry.

6.  Heart Upon My Sleeve – Avicii (4:40):  Dare ya not to climb to this one.  There’s a soft, slow bit from 2:19 – 3:30 where I often get my riders to dig even deeper and focus for the minute where the music doesn’t support their work.

7.  Let Her Go – Passenger (4:13):  Sweet, sweet, poignant cool down music.  My absolute favourite cool down song of the year.  Yes.  Just yes.  (Purists will point out this song was released in 2012 but I am including it on a technicality because it didn’t get released in Canada until 2013.)

8.  Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. and Pharrell) – Robin Thicke (4:23):  Thicke had a massive #1 hit with this song of summer 2013 that sparked a discussion about consent (“good girls… I know you want it…” “the way you grab me, must want to get nasty”) and woke up a lot of folks to the fact that many teens and 20-somethings don’t really understand what consent is.  Just.  Don’t.  Watch.  The.  Uncensored.  Video.

9.  Get Lucky (Joe Max Remix) v2.0 – Daft Punk (5:28):  I use this remix of the other “song of 2013″ as a warm-up.

10.  The Monster (feat. Rihanna) – Eminem (4:10):  Okay, yeah, Eminem is hard core and I know not everyone appreciates his music, but there’s something about an angry man that makes me want to climb a hill.  Plus, I dare you to listen without tapping a foot, even if you loathe the guy’s music.

11.  Burn – Ellie Goulding (3:51):  The jumps will nearly kill you.  My quads get sore just thinking about it.

12.  Dear Boy – Avicii (7:59):  This long song offers both climbing and seated flats.

13.  Royals – Lorde (3:1):  Entrancing cool down music from this precocious New Zealander (seriously: she just turned 17).

14.  Work Work – Britney Spears (4:08):  Spears’ “You want a hot body?  You want a Maserati?  You better work work…” reminds us that the only way we’re going to progress is with, well, work.  Jumps or climbing; your pick.

15.  My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light ‘Em Up) – Fall Out Boy (3:09):  A relentless climb.  Every time I listen to it, I think: what the heck is this song about?  It makes no sense.

16.  This is What it Feels Like (feat. Trevor Guthrie) – Armin Van Buuren (3:23):  A sweet seated flat.  I always try to work in Van Buuren’s inspiring story about following your dreams: he swapped law school for DJ work (how’d you want to be in the room for THAT conversation with his parents) but it took off almost immediately.  He’s been voted the #1 DJ in the world five separate times and word has it, he commands more than $100,000 per gig.  Not bad for a guy who initially dropped out of law school (he completed his degree in 2003).

17.  Animals – Martin Garrix (5:04):  Another Dutch wonder-kid, Garrix is only 17 and wanted to be a DJ from the age of 8.  This single didn’t do much in the USA (peaked at #51) but went to #1 in the UK and Belgium, and #2 in France and Switzerland.  I use it as a warm up.  Watch this guy – he’s going to do some cool things.

18.  Applause – Lady Gaga (3:32):  I am a huge Gaga fan (still kicking myself for not driving the 3 hours from Prince Edward Island to come home mid-vacation to catch her 2008 show in my home town.  (She was mid-list on a full day music festival.)  Folks who’ve been hanging around Spinning Music for a while will know I played The Edge of Glory until I wore it out and tagged it the #1 indoor cycling tune of 2011.  But ARTPOP?  Meh.  This is the only song from the album that has made its way to my iPhone.

19.  Gone Gone Gone – Phillip Phillips (3:30):  I gave Phillips a nod in the Top 25 of 2012 with Home.  This one has great cool down energy.

20.  Mermaid of Salinas – Basement Jaxx (5:46):  “Give me a shimmy shimmy!”  I hadn’t even heard of this song until Rolling Stone tapped it as one of the best of the year.  It’s got a sunny Miami vibe, which is ironic, considering the band hails from gritty Brixton, South London.

21.  Hey Porsche – Nelly (3:29):  Apparently, I was the only person who liked the lead song from Nelly’s most recent album (it peaked at #42 on the Billboard Chart).  Equating a sports car with a woman isn’t exactly original, but darnit, I like this song about a guy and his car.

22.  We Own It (Fast and Furious) – 2Chainz and Wiz Khalifa (3:48):  Inspiring lyrics for a grind of a hill.

23.  Woman’s World – Cher (3:41):  Her voice is unmistakable and you know what?  She’s 67 and she’s still got it.

24.  Mind Your Manners – Pearl Jam (2:40):  2013 gave us a dearth of sprinting songs for some reason, and this Motorhead-lite tune from Pearl Jam is just the thing.

25.  Roar – Katy Perry (3:44):  An inspiring message, perfect for the cool down.

Songs that were oh-so-close: I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding) – Calvin Harris, Feel This Moment (feat. Christina Aguilera) – Pitbull, Just Give Me a Reason (feat. Nate Ruess) – P!nk, Radioactive – Imagine Dragons (would have been higher but never quite figured out what to do with it), Pompeii – Bastille (bet we hear a lot more from these guys), Clarity (feat. Foxes) – Zedd and Stay the Night (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore) – Zedd

Songs I wish had made the list, but were released in 2012: Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert) by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, for it’s message of support for equal marriage, Play Hard (feat. Ne-Yo and Akon) by David Guetta, Inner Ninja (feat. David Myles) by local guy Classified (3:22): (I think of it as gateway hip hop, for folks who aren’t sure if they like the genre).  Inspiring message and awesome video, too.

Songs I never want to hear again: Gentleman – PSY, The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) – Ylvis (which at least started as a joke).

So what do you think?  Did I get it right?  Overlook one of your favourites?