Devil’s Dance Floor Cycling Mix

12 Mar


St. Patrick’s Day.  This is a ride I look forward to every year.  There are so many great Irish bands and songs to choose from as you create your St. Patrick’s Day playlist.  Speaking of which, I’ve recently created my first collaborative playlist in Spotify titled St. Patrick’s Day for Indoor Cycling.  Check it out here,  subscribe and add your favorite St. Pat’s Tunes!  

If you like the idea of the collaborative playlist but you’re just not sure how they work, check out my most recent post on ICI/Pro.  Collaborative playlists are great for instructors like us, or can even be used to encourage members at your gym to share their favorite songs. 

So, before I share this year’s St. Patrick’s Day playlist, I’m going to get a wee bit opinionated. You can either agree or disagree.  I’d actually love to hear your thoughts on this.

When I’m making playlists for my classes, whether they are themed like this one or otherwise, I always keep a few things in mind:

1.  Does the music match my ride profile?  

2.  Do I like it?


3.  Does the music appeal to my audience?  

I think we need to be especially careful with theme rides like this one when appealing to our audience.

I like to think I have pretty good taste in music.  If there is a song or artist I just don’t like, I WON’T be playing it.  Case in point: The Harlem Shake.  And Tom Petty.  (Nothing against him, I’m sure he’s lovely, really.  I just can’t stand his whiny- ass voice.)

Back to my point.  While I really do like bands like Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and The Young Dubliners, if I had to listen to an hour of their music, I might have to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick.  I can’t take it in large doses.

I don’t want my entire playlist to sound exactly the same.  AND I don’t want to bore my poor participants to tears.

Now, there is an exeption here.  Maybe your audience totally digs it. I’m guessing this is the case if you have a younger crowd.  Great.  Go ahead and give them an entire class full of it.  But if you’re like me and your classes have a wide range of ages, you’re going to want to mix it up with some better known Irish tunes by bands like Van Morrison or U2. Or maybe even just something a little more toned down like Breakeven by the Script (a band which, by the way, I did not even realize was from Dublin until playlist subscriber Tracy added them to our collaborative playlist).

I also threw in some Great Big Sea, a band I’m in love with, but really aren’t Irish, although their music sure has that vibe. 

Again, feel free to agree or disagree with my thoughts.  I’d love to hear your thoughts either way.  I can take it.  

I hope you enjoy checking out the colllaborative playlist and find some inspiration there!  

Here’s what I’ll be using this year:



**Edit to this post: As I finished up writing and publishing this post, I headed on over to one of my other favorite cycling instructor blogs: Spinning Music to check out Cynthia’s Rocky Road to Dublin Mix. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! Some U2, Cranberries, Sinead O’Conner, and some Great Big Sea, mixed up with some more ‘hardcore’ Irish stuff like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy’s. GREAT playlist as usual Cynthia!

3 Responses to “Devil’s Dance Floor Cycling Mix”

  1. Cynthia March 13, 2013 at 2:32 am #

    Chris, I agree 100%. I don’t play anything I don’t like, with the exception of requests – if it is Spinnable, I’ll hold my nose and play it. Once.

    For me, the music HAS to match the ride. I’ve taken (and enjoyed) classes with the music was an afterthought; all good, just not particularly matched, and I’ve taken (and not enjoyed) classes where the profile and the music are at odds (sprint during the ballad!) Research backs us up on this. People work harder when they can work to music, and they work harder to music they know than music that is new to them.

    I do like single-genre rides, but I tend to mix them up, so if you didn’t like the trance ride I did last week, maybe the hard rock ride this week will be more enjoyable, and if that’s not your thing, next week we’ll have Top 40. I think I like single-genre rides for the mood they create. I once did an Out of India ride based on the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. I was very apprehensive about an hour of Indian music but it got good feedback (it was right around the time that the film and soundtrack won Oscars.)

    A ride of trance-hip hop-rock-top 40 would feel jerky to me. Radio stations have formats for a reason.

    Celtic music is huge where I live (Nova Scotia) so I can get away with more than most, but I made sure to include some classics (Boys are Back in Town, Brown Eyed Girl), some major hits everyone would recognize (Desire, Dreams) and some CanCon (short for Canadian Content) (Great Big Sea, Irish Descendants) along with the Irish tunes. I did wonder if it would be too much, though. I did the ride today and it went over well, so we’ll see how my Wed and Thurs riders like it. Then it’ll go on the shelf until next year.

  2. Jessica @ Fit Talker March 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I agree completely!
    Sometimes themed rides sound like a great idea in theory but once I start to put them together I realize that they just don’t jive with the class or my personal style.
    I do think it’s very important that the instructor uses music that he/she likes (or loves) because it definitely translates to the class. If we get excited about a song, they just might too.

  3. thedancingrunner March 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Yeah, I try to take those things into account as well. We are all different as instructors and should celebrate our differences and have our own unique style!

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