About Indoor Cycling
Indoor cycling is a form of group exercise set to music in which an instructor leads the class through a series of drills simulating an outdoor ride. Most classes run 30-60 minutes. It’s a fantastic, addictive workout. Indoor cycling originated in 1991 with Johnny G., who created the Spinning program. Other indoor cycling programs include Schwinn and Les Mills RPM.
Here’s a video that captures the energy of an indoor cyling class (the soundtrack is The Crystal Method’s Keep Hope Alive) (and yes, that is Johnny G. leading the class).
About this Blog
Great music is one of the things that makes an indoor cycling class. The right song can give you the push you need to climb to the top of a hill, or sprint for 20 seconds longer than you thought you could.
I started this blog to offer other Spinning/indoor cycling instructors and enthusiasts a place to share favourite songs and playlists. I will post the playlists I use in my own classes, along with ideas for songs to use for particular types of drills. I’m a huge fan of Canadian music so I try to showcase Canadian artists as much as possible, especially newer ones. I will say this right up front: I believe in paying artists for their work. That’s why I absolutely refuse to download or play pirated music.
I get most of my music ideas from three sources: iTunes, an amazing Facebook group called Former Cycling Pingers, and a local radio station called 101.3 The Bounce. The station posts it’s playlists and you can listen live online.
The iTunes charts are ideal for finding new music. After looking at the main chart, I often peruse the dance, pop, rock, and electronic charts as well. With iTunes, you can listen to a snippet of a song and usually get a sense of whether it would be good for a cycling class before downloading it. They also flag (most) songs with explicit lyrics, which is a plus, since many gyms don’t permit instructors to play songs with explicit lyrics in classes. If you’re concerned about this, any version of a song listed as a radio edit is a clean version.
Former Cycling Pingers is a group of more than 650 indoor cycling instructors from all over the world (though mostly in North America, I think.) The name of the group comes from the now-discontinued iTunes Ping function, that used to enable people to post and share public playlists with their followers. Anyway, Ping is no more, but the Former Cycling Pingers remains a vibrant online community.
I know many indoor cycling instructors are using Spotify to share their playlists, but alas, it isn’t available in Canada (where I live) yet.
What songs do you love to spin to? Which ones fire up your classes and get requested again and again? You can post song suggestions for the different types of drills as comments on the page where they fit best. I’ve also got a Reader Playlists forum for posting entire playlists/profiles. Even if you don’t post a song or profile, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
The latest addition to the blog is The Bike Cafe forum, a place for folks to ask questions and receive answers from experienced indoor cycling instructors from all over the world. Drop in, pour a cup of coffee, and join the conversation.
I took my first indoor cycling class in 2003 and immediately got hooked. I started making my own playlists and cycling by myself when I couldn’t get to a scheduled class. When I showed my trainer the playlists on my iPod he commented, “If you like indoor cycling that much, you should teach it!” It was the push I needed to take the training.
I started teaching indoor cycling classes at my gym in February 2008. I love teaching classes as much as I love taking them. (That’s me on the left, with my sister, before an outdoor ride.) I am certified through Schwinn but I also draw on elements from other programs in my classes.
When I’m not on the bike, I enjoy yoga, writing fiction, and cappuccino. I live by the ocean in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with my husband and our daughter. You can reach me at bikecafeblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Have fun cycling!