What a response we got to our request for the best songs about bikes and cycling! The entries flooded in, and we have a 30-strong have list of songs about cycling as a result.
Before we get to the winners, though, a word about eligibility. We got suggestions of songs that might be about cycling, but might not. We decided that simply using the word ‘ride’ in the lyrics, or being open to interpretation as being about cycling wasn’t enough: a song had to actually mention bikes or cycling to qualify.
That eliminated, among others: Hawkwind’s Silver Machine; It’s a climb by Hannah Montana; Bullet the Blue Sky by U2 (despite it figuring prominently in Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride) and Machineries of Joy by British Sea Power, despite the video.
We also eliminated entries with several songs listed. Please read the guidelines, folks.
Only one band was mentioned more than once: the Wirral’s mighty Half Man Half Biscuit. Lead singer and songwriter Nigel Blackwell is a keen rider, and was even giving Tour de France podium tips when he played Cambridge recently.
Before we get to the top five, here’s the full list of the runners-up:
20= B-I-C-Y-C-L-E by The Kerplunks — 1%
The Top 5
4= Bike by Pink Floyd — 6%
4= Motherfucking Bike by The Sons of Science — 6%
3 See that my bike's kept clean by Half Man Half Biscuit — 7%
2 Bicycle race by Queen — 16%
1 Tour de France by Kraftwerk — 19%
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.