After an exhaustive search of every cycling playlist and song database we could get our hands on, we’ve curated the ultimate playlist of bike riding tunes.
This isn’t just a random collection of songs that mention bikes in passing; each of these 12 tracks was chosen because it captures the passion and excitement of cycling.
From the pump-you-up adrenaline rush of hammering out a hardcore training routine to the unbeatable joy of cruising down an open country road, these songs will take you there.
Whether you’re new to cycling or a pro, this playlist is sure to get you pumped up for your next ride. So put these certified bike bangers on your headphones, hop on your bike, and get pedaling; adventure awaits!
The Best Songs About Bicycles You Need to Hear
We’ve produced a list of the top 12 bicycle-related songs below. Put your helmet on, get on your bike, and enjoy the ride while listening to these uplifting, memorable, and motivational songs.
1. Queen: Bicycle Race (1978)
According to accounts of Queen’s creative process, their 1978 hit “Bicycle Race” was inspired by Freddie Mercury’s experience attending the Tour de France cycling race that year.
However, the song’s music video featured some controversial elements that led to it being banned in several countries. The video included footage of 65 female models cycling nude at London’s Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium.
After the video shoot, the company that had rented bicycles to the production team requested that Queen purchase all of the bicycle seats used due to their unexpected use in the video.
While the music video’s irreverent style was characteristic of Queen’s edgy approach, its nudity and sexual themes were seen as too extreme in some areas. The song itself, however, endured as one of Queen’s most memorable and unique rock tracks.
2. Tomorrow: My White Bicycle (1967)
According to John ‘Twink’ Alder, the drummer for the band Tomorrow, the song ‘White Bicycle’ was inspired by an innovative bicycle-sharing system implemented by an anarchist group in 1960s Amsterdam.
As Alder describes, ‘They had white bicycles in Amsterdam and they used to leave them around the town. And if you needed transport, you’d just take a bicycle and go where you needed to, then leave it for someone else when finished.’
This early ‘bike-share’ program made a lasting impression and inspired the whimsical lyrics and music of ‘White Bicycle,’ capturing the experimental spirit of the time.
3. Carlos Vives & Shakira: La Bicicleta (2018)
The song artfully incorporates various traditional Colombian musical elements. Indigenous wind instruments and accordions are skillfully featured, anchoring the composition in the region’s folk music heritage.
These details imbue the song with a cultural authenticity and spirit reflective of Colombia’s diverse musical roots.
4. Nat King Cole: Bicycle Built for Two (1963)
Originally penned by Harry Dacre in 1892, the song has been covered by a wide range of renowned artists over the decades.
Early renditions by singers like Al Jolson helped popularize it with broader audiences, and later adaptations spanned from Alvin & the Chipmunks’ comedic take to Bing Crosby’s classic crooning style.
This enduring popularity and versatility testifies to the timeless craftsmanship of Dacre’s songwriting.
5. Hawkwind: Silver Machine (1972)
While the song is often mistakenly interpreted as a futuristic space travel narrative, its lyrics are in fact grounded in a more mundane inspiration: cycling around town. As the songwriter himself has clarified, the composition is ‘about a bicycle’—an earthbound recreation it colorfully imagines as an otherworldly adventure.
6. Katie Melua: Nine Million Bicycles (2005)
According to interviews, the song’s lyric about ‘nine million bicycles in Beijing’ was inspired by a startling factoid offered by Melua and her manager’s interpreter during a visit to the city.
While this figure is oft-repeated, it is subject to some debate, with skeptics questioning whether Beijing’s cycling population could truly be so vast.
Yet whether hyperbole or hard data, the memorable phrase paints an vivid portrait of China’s densely populated capital and its inherent contrasts—the modern alongside the traditional, a bustling metropolis that remains close to its cycling roots.
7. Tom Waits: Broken Bicycles (1982)
Songwriter Tom Waits is renowned not only for his distinctive raspy voice and vivid lyricism but also for his encyclopedic knowledge of obscure facts.
As Waits has revealed in interviews, he maintains a notebook filled with surprising tidbits, such as the fact that cockroaches can survive for up to two weeks after being decapitated.
As a longtime admirer of Waits’s unorthodox genius, I never cease to be fascinated by both his catalog’s singular vision and the esoteric influences and details that inspire it.
For those not yet acquainted with Waits’s oeuvre, any of his diverse albums from the 1970s through 2000s would make for an excellent point of entry into a compelling sonic world as well as the creative mind that conjured it.
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Bicycle Song (2004)
Recorded during sessions for a 2004 greatest hits album, the song ‘Bicycle Song’ was left on the cutting room floor only to resurface two years later as an iTunes release bonus track.
This whimsical composition would prove more than a mere curio, however, going on to become a fan favorite and highlighting the creative fertility of these productively meandering recording sessions.
That the album as a whole went on to sell over 8 million copies worldwide serves as a testament to the band’s continued inspiration and their label’s faith in such an eclectic catalog of material, even if finding the right outlet for each piece required time, effort, and unexpected outlets.
9. Kraftwerk – Tour de France (1983)
German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk made an iconic appearance at the 2015 Tour de France, performing at the opening ceremonies in Utrecht to mark the Netherlands leg of the prestigious cycling race.
This high-profile nod to the band that helped cement cycling within the pop culture lexicon highlighted the enduring influence of their pioneering synth-pop sound and vision.
From ‘Tour de France’ to an actual Tour de France stage, it was a fitting culmination of the way in which Kraftwerk have pedaled their way into our collective consciousness.
10. David Rovics – The Bicycle Song (1996)
David Rovics considers himself to be anarchist.
11. Mark Ronson, The Business Intl. – The Bike Song (2010)
The music video features Felicity Jones, an actress. The young lady with the blue clothing is her.
12. Pink Floyd – Bike (1967)
The song’s final verse gives way to a collage of sounds—ticking clocks, clanging gongs, and other noise—that coalesce into the impression of a bicycle’s gears churning.
This inventive use of found sound to elicit a concrete sensory experience anchors the lyrical themes in physical reality, cycling back to where the journey began.
Whether such auditory illusions fully convince is subjective, but few would dispute the band’s inspired use of unique studio techniques to traverse the space between the abstract and the mundane.