- “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC, and “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival are the top songs in cycling playlists on Spotify.
- Drake, Kanye West, and Eminem are the top artists in biking playlists on Spotify.
- Hip-hop/rap (25%), rock (23%), pop (16%), metal (12%), and country (8%) are the most popular music genres included in biking playlists on Spotify.
- 58% of cyclists often listen to music while riding.
- Cyclists claim Eminem is their top artist to listen to while riding, with his hit “Lose Yourself” being their top listening choice when looking to set personal records.
Music Geared to Make You Groove
In the words of Queen, “I want to ride my bicycle! I want to ride my bike!” There are plenty of tunes (bike themed or not) to listen to while riding, but what music do cyclists prefer to listen to most often? To find out, we analyzed all Spotify playlists with the words “bike,” “biking,” and “cycling” and identified the most popular songs, artists, and genres. We also surveyed 1,000 cyclists about their listening habits to see if they like to pedal to hard metal or cycle to George Michael.
Most Popular Cycling Songs
Which songs most commonly cycle through biking playlists? Let’s take a look.
Just like it’s true that you never forget how to ride a bike, you never forget the song on your playlist that made your bike ride memorable.
“Thunderstruck” and “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC and “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival were the top songs in Spotify’s biking playlists. It’s unlikely “Highway to Hell” will leave the top playlist rankings anytime soon — if you’re not in one of these most bike-friendly cities, cycling in places with poor bike infrastructure makes every ride a highway to hell. Two more AC/DC songs — “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” — also ranked within the top 10 songs.
While it’s clear that cyclists prefer classic rock songs on Spotify, other fitness fans have different tastes. Pop featured prominently for the most popular songs on running playlists, with the top tune being Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” featuring Ryan Lewis and Ray Dalton. Rock and rap took the No. 1 spots on CrossFit playlists, with “Thunderstruck” again in the lead. Rap held the most weight on Spotify’s weightlifting playlists as this genre ranked in all the top five spots.
Top Cycling Singers
Now let’s see which singers top the charts in cyclists’ hearts.
Drake, Kanye West, and Eminem ranked the highest on Spotify’s biking playlists. It’s possible you’ll find cyclists singing along to the lyrics, “It’s so fantastical on your bicycle!” in Skylar Grey and Eminem’s “C’mon Let Me Ride.” Other notable artists riding at the top of the rankings include Kendrick Lamar, AC/DC, and Lil Baby.
Familiar names are cycling through other exercise playlists as well. Taylor Swift claimed the top spot on running playlists, with Drake coming in second and Kanye West third. CrossFit playlists featured Eminem at No. 1. Drake spun his way to No. 3 in CrossFit playlists and to the top of lifting playlists.
Top Types of Cycling Music
Next, we’ll find out which music genres keep cyclists pedaling.
Cyclists wheeled their way through a diverse group of genres. Hip-hop/rap claimed the most playtime on biking playlists at 25%, and rock was a close second at 23%. CrossFitters and lifters also preferred hip-hop/rap as it made up 27% of CrossFit playlists and dominated lifting playlists at 50%.
Top Cycling Artists for Hip-hop/Rap
- Kanye West
- Lil Baby
Top Cycling Artists for Rock
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Elton John
- The Rolling Stones
Pop (16%), metal (12%), and country (8%) rounded out the rest of the most popular music genres on Spotify’s cycling playlists. Pop also put pep in runners’ steps, as it made up 30% of their playlists. While bicycling playlists are only 7% EDM, this genre ranked second for CrossFit playlists and third on running playlists.
Top Cycling Artists for Pop
- The Weeknd
- David Guetta
- Ed Sheeran
- Dua Lipa
Top Cycling Artists for Metal
- Five Finger Death Punch
- Linkin Park
Top Cycling Artists for Country
- Jason Aldean
- Florida Georgia Line
- Luke Combs
- Brantley Gilbert
- Luke Bryan
Top Cycling Artists for EDM
- Calvin Harris
Cycling Music Metrics
Beyond a wheelie good beat, what makes for a good cycling song? Let’s take a look at music metrics, comparing the average tempo, valence, and loudness of songs across fitness playlists.
Just like there are different types of bikes for different terrain and distances, there are different grooves for different moves. A song’s tempo, valence, and loudness characterizes the listening experience. These metrics coast along with no major hills across the different fitness playlists, although their slight differences are still insightful.
Tempo is measured in beats per minute (BPM) and is a song’s pace. It can be as slow as 25 BPM or as fast as 200 BPM. The average tempo of Spotify’s biking playlists was moderate at 124 BPM, which is in tandem with the BPM of running playlists. CrossFit and Lifting have slightly higher BPMs at 126 and 127, respectively.
Valence measures a song’s mood, with 0 being negative and 1 being positive. The biking (0.51), CrossFit (0.50), and running (0.51) playlists all had a very neutral vibe. The valence of lifting playlists was slightly lower at 0.44, making it a bit more subdued.
The average loudness normalization of Spotify’s playlists is -14 decibels (dB), while the range is -60dB as the quietest and 0dB as the loudest. Spotify’s biking playlists came in at an average of -6.86dB, louder than normal but quieter than any other fitness playlist studied.
Cyclists’ Thoughts on Listening and Riding
Now that we’ve covered Spotify’s data, let’s turn to cyclists to gather their thoughts about music and biking.
Even if they’re not training for the Tour de France, cyclists enjoy some good beats to keep their feet moving. Overall, cyclists averaged 6.1 hours per week on their bikes, plenty of time to hear their favorite tunes. Over half (58%) reported often listening to music while riding. Those riding electric bikes spent slightly more time on the road (6.4 hours/week) but listened to music a little less often — only 46% of e-bike riders said they often listen to music while cycling.
The top genres among the surveyed cyclists were hip-hop/rap, rock, and pop, which is consistent with Spotify’s biking playlist data. Eminem was cyclists’ top artist to listen to, with his hit “Lose Yourself” their top listening choice when looking to set personal records. Fleetwood Mac came in second, and their hit “Dreams” was the song cyclists turned to when taking it easy on a slow, relaxing ride. Their favorite go-to song for biking, in general, was Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
Ride or Die Music Fans
The next time you see a cyclist singing along during their ride, it’s not unlikely that they’re listening to Journey on their journey. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning — and so do the wheels of cyclists enjoying cruising to tunes. While cyclists are likely to be listening to a variety of genres, it’s clear that music makes the ride well worth it.
For this study, we analyzed all playlists with the terms “bike,” “biking,” and “cycling” on Spotify to determine the most popular songs, artists, and genres included. We also gathered the same data for playlists with the terms “lifting,” “running,” and “crossfit” to compare. To supplement the Spotify data, we surveyed 1,004 cyclists about their music listening habits while biking.
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Fair Use Statement
Are you a music lover intrigued by the connection between melodies and cycling? Feel free to share our findings about the type of music cyclists listen to with others, as long as it is for noncommercial purposes. We simply ask that you provide a link back to this page to allow readers to access the full study.