“I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride it where I like.” — Queen
Biking through the forest donned in flannel makes fall fun. What makes it even more so is riding with buds — earbuds.
On the road, airpods are verboten. In the woods, riding solo, let’s hear it for the soundtrack of your rides (as long as you’re aware of your surroundings and perhaps wear just one).
Pound that playlist pulsing along Pilar to Pond, lighting up Lager’s Lane and swooping down Sendero.
Tunes are personal. Many songs aren’t about bicycling, like Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle” and Skynyrd’s version of “Call Me The Breeze,” but they fit the mood.
Add lyrics specifically about cycling, and those endorphins seem to kick it up a notch on scintillating single track. Plenty of songs get riders pumped over the miles whether they’re old school or electro-pop fresh.
A popular and obvious listen is 1978’s “Bicycle Race” by the British rock band Queen. Written by the flamboyant Freddie Mercury, who apparently didn’t care much for cycling, the uplifting song with its easily identifiable bicycle-related lyrics was released along with “Fat Bottomed Girls,” another memorable song imploring cyclists to get on your bikes and ride.
“Tour de France,” the trance-like synth track from the edgy German electronic band Kraftwerk, is likely under the radar of many cyclists. The nearly seven-minute long tour de force was released in 1983 and features a pulsating heavy-breathing riff that will get any rider over the next hill. There are both German and French renditions but nothing by the band in English. Nonetheless, c’est bon, mein freund.
Though it’s not recommended to ride your bike without holding onto your handlebars like Flobots sing in their 2008 hit “Handlebars,” the plucking tune from the Denver rapping rockers will have you happy as you wiggle through the woods.
Though the song is about man’s potential destructive and creative sides, lead singer Jamie Laurie once told MTV News, “The lyrics came to me as I was riding a bike home from work with my hands in the air—I had just learned how to do it — and I felt triumphant, but at the same time, I knew there were people at that moment who were being bombed by our own country.”
The Beach Boys ruled Southern California youth, surf and car cultures during their 1960s heyday and 1970s reprisal. Frankly, they seem out of sorts in the White Mountains. But what is a mountain bike but a convertible and brown pow kinda wave-like. If you accept that, then the snappy carefree “It’s a Beautiful Day” with lyrics that talk about LA fun (not Lewiston-Auburn) with “folks roller skating, joggin’ or a fancy bike you can get around most anyway you really like” might make you smile for a mile.
Funk it up a bit with bassist Flea and frontman Anthony Kiedis on “Bicycle Song” from the Red Hot Chili Peppers 2006 album “By the Way.” The song seems to be about a young relationship but who knows. Best line though: “How could I forget to mention the bicycle is a good invention, Indeed. How could you Anthony?”
If you haven’t heard of Maude Latour, maybe you will. The New York native who attended Columbia University is an up-and-coming introspective electric-pop singer. Her catchy “Ride My Bike” video has her spinning inside on a stationary bike and belting out lyrics: “My mind’s on fire, so I’ll ride my bike. I’m riding harder than a hurricane.” Listen closely at the end and you’ll hear the chain spinning.
Those cheeky British blokes Blur have somehow turned the 1892 classic charmer “Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)” into a raucous drinking song. Good for them. Blur’s power cords give the song that’s also been covered by artists like Nat King Cole a good kick in the keister making it fun to go bounding by the berms. Originally released in 1993, it’s also on the 2012 remastered “Modern Life is Rubbish” (ain’t that the truth sometimes).
Long before they reached the dark side of the moon, legendary Pink Floyd sang “I’ve got a bike. You can ride it if you like. It’s got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good” in “Bike” from their 1967 debut album “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” It’s like a nice cuppa tea on a brisk autumn day.