From Victorian music halls to the gods of rock, it seems that cycling has even influenced the world of music! And well it should – who hasn’t felt inspired when riding their bicycle?
1. Harry Dacre – ‘Daisy bell’
But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle made for two
Written in 1892, this song has proved enduringly popular – but it’s got a few other geeky claims to fame.
It was the first song ‘sung’ by a computer, the IBM 704, in 1961 using early sound-generating programs. If you’re a fan of sci-fi, you might have also spotted that it features in 2001: A Space Odyssey too, sung by the Hal 9000 computer.
2. Queen – ‘Bicycle Race’
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!
Most of us can identify with Freddy Mercury’s wishes – who doesn’t want to ride their bike?
This song was apparently inspired by the 1978 Tour de France, and the video for it was pretty controversial – 65 naked women cycling around Wimbledon Stadium.
3. Hawkwind – ‘Silver machine’
I just took a ride, in a silver machine…
This famous song has been in the UK charts on three separate occasions. First released in 1972, it reached number 3 in the charts, then again in 1978 reaching 34, and finally in 1983 placing 67th.
Although at first it seems to be a song about spaceships, it is in fact about the silver bicycle the lyricist Robert Calvert had as a boy. Who knew?
4. Katie Melua – ‘Nine million bicycles’
There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing, and that’s a fact. It’s a thing we can’t deny, like the fact I will love you ‘till I die
Reaching number 5 in the UK charts in 2005, this hit penned by lyricist Mike Batt and sung by Katie Melua is all about bicycles and love. Inspired by a visit to Beijing, it was also a finalist for the Record of the Year in 2005, but just missed the top spot.
5. Kraftwerk – ‘Tour de France’
Sampling and mixing various cycling noises, this song is a celebration of cycling, as it seems that a number of the group not only love cycling, they’ve also raced.
In fact, they’re so inspired that in 1983 they released a whole concept album on the Tour de France, of which this song was a single. It was remastered and re-released in 1999.
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Bicycle Song’
How could I forget to mention the bicycle is a good invention
Released by the Peppers in 2002, this song was a bonus track on the ‘By The Way’ album, and it’s a good’un! Imagine cycling through sunny California on a big cruiser bike while listening to this out load. Sounds good, right?
7. Mark Ronson and The Business INTL – ‘The Bike Song’
Gonna ride my bike until I get home
Not only does it have a pretty catchy chorus, one of this song’s claim to fame is its use in a Transport For London video promoting cycling in the capital. The song also features Kyle Falconer from The View, and rapper Spank Rock.
8. Madness – ‘Riding on my bike’
I went riding on my bike, with spanner, pump, front and back light
Not only is this the perfect B-side to ‘I like driving in my car’, it’s a genius song about the benefits of cycling, including a line we totally identify with;
…the traffic jams look with despair!
9. Beach Boys – ‘It’s a beautiful day’
The freeways there are jammed with all kinds of folks on their bikes
The masters of that sunny 70’s California vibe are clearly talking about cycling. Well, we think so anyway.
Now over to you – what bicycle songs would you add to your cycling playlist?