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Bicycle Music

Bicycle Songs

There are plenty of songs about cars and not nearly as many about bikes. Here are some that we found (besides the ones done by the bands listed above).


"Nine million Bicycles in Beijing"

 
 
 
"The Acoustic Motorbike" by LUKA BLOOM (from The Acoustic Motorbike, 1992)
Rolling Stone says: " Luka Bloom proves more successful at evoking moods than making incisive observations on his second album, The Acoustic Motorbike. ... One of Bloom's most affecting performances on Acoustic Motorbike, however, is an impassioned reading of L.L. Cool J's 'I Need Love'. The prospect of a folky Irish rocker covering a rap ballad may seem strange, but experimenting with different forms is precisely what keeps established traditions vital. That's not to imply, of course, that the folk-rock minstrel is in danger of extinction. The times may be a-changin', but as long as people play guitars, write songs and sing - and move others by doing so - this custom will evolve and endure." (MP3 at Amazon.com)

The day began with a rainbow in the sand
As I cycled into Kerry
Cattle grazing on a steep hillside
Looked well fed well balanced
Close to the edge

Chorus:

Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

I take a break, I close my eyes
And I'm as happy as the Dolphin
In a quiet spot talking to myself
Talking about the rain
Talking about the rain
All this rain

(Chorus)

You see whenever I'm alone
I tend to brood
But when I'm out on my bike
It's a different mood
I leave my brain at home
Get up on the saddle
No hanging around
I don't diddle-daddle

I work my legs
I pump my thighs
Take in the scenery passing me by
The Kerry Mountains or the Wicklow Hills
The antidote to my emotional ills
A motion built upon human toil
Nuclear free needs no oil
But it makes me hot, makes me hard
I never thought I could have come this far
Through miles of mountains, valleys, streams
This is the right stuff filling my dreams
So come on, get up on your bike
Ah go on, get up on your bike

(Chorus)

Finally
With my face to that bitter wind
I bombed it into Killarney
Skin raw like a sushi dinner
And an appetite
That would eat the hind leg of the lamb of God
Even though you know I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing
Then settle down for a quiet night
Think about what I've seen and done
And wonder

There's no reason for this
Now is the time to speak of the problem troubling my mind
Sick of the traffic choking our towns
Freaking me out, bringing me down
Knock down houses, build more lanes
Once was a problem, now it's insane
My solution it's one that I like
It's Muddy
The Acoustic Motorbike
So come on, get up on your bike

(Chorus)

Ah go on, Ah go on
Get up on your bike
Get up on your bike



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JAZZ
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"Bicycle Race" by QUEEN (from Jazz, 1978)
This is the quintessential bicycle song, opening with the several-part harmony chanting, "BI-cycle, BI-cycle, BI-cycle!", and continuing with, "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like." The album included a controversial fold-out poster of 55 nude women on bicycles preparing for a race. The race was held in England's Wimbledon stadium, and was organized for the sole purpose of providing the photograph for the album.
Aside from the chorus, the verses are puzzling, seeming to have nothing to do with bicycles. (" 'Jaws' was never my scene and I don't like 'Star Wars'," "You say Rolls, I say Royce," "I don't believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein, or Superman.") Some have suggested that "bicycle" is really a euphemism for "bisexual," since Queen's leader (Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS in the early 90s) was gay and perhaps bisexual, but there is little in the lyrics to suggest that alternate meaning.
The CD version of Jazz contains a bonus: Track #15 is a dance remix of "Bicycle Race" done by Junior Vasquez in 1991. I use the original "Bicycle Race" as the intro music on my "Bicycle Lane" program on KOOP Radio, and the dance remix of "Bicycle Race" as the closing music.

"Bicycle" by LIVINGSTON TAYLOR (from Bicycle, 1996)
A lounge jazz piece from the album of the same name by singer/songwriter Livingston Taylor and Maggie Taylor. Audio clips are available at Amazon. Excerpted lyrics: Pedal that bike, pedal that bike / That little old lady in the Dodge Diplomat / I don't think she sees me / I hope she don't teach me how to fly. / I wear Lycra, it fits really closely to my skin / White to purple is the place where it begins / I pad my butt and I'm careful / To stay out of ruts / Wrap around sunglasses, I'm an alien / Feel my heart go pit-a-pat / Hello big hill good-bye fat / Life goes by just like that / A forty something spree is / My bicycle and me.
 
"Bicycle Song" by ORBIT (from Libido Speedway, circa 1996)
An edgy song by a modern rock band. Only the first verse mentions bikes: "Kelsey won't you come out to play? I got my bicycle today. My father bought it for me. He said it cost him money. He's got a man in China, who said he gets them cheaply. It's got a magic handle, it's got a chromed-up fender, it's got a sprocket carbon(?), it's got some super powers. / What a pretty bicycle she said, I want one just like that."

"The Bicycle Song" by KATE BLOOM (1981-1984)
Annoying simple folk song with no production values and unrelated guitar noodling in the background. (epitonic)

 


"The Bicycle Song" by DAVID ROVICS (from Make it So, undated, circa 1995?)

Contemporary folksinger David Rovics offers this simple, original folksong. From the liner notes: "When Bill Taylor told me he was forming a choir specifically for singing songs that promote bike riding, I was inspired to make this contribution to the cause."

 "The Bicycle Song" by RIC MENCK / THE SPRINGFIELDS (from The Ballad of Ric Menck 1996)
Unfortunately I couldn't find an MP3 or even the lyrics to this song. Here's a track listing of the album as well as more information about the artist.
 
"BicycleThieves" by SALOON (2002)
A pretty song from a Reading, England art-pop band. Unfortunately I can't really make out any of the lyrics. You can listen to the track on the website of their label, Darla.com. Here's also a review of the album it's from (What We Call Progress), and an interview with the band.

"Bike" by PINK FLOYD (from the re-release of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967)
The "Bike" song didn't appear on Pink Floyd's album when it was released in 1967, but it's included on the 1987 re-release. It was penned and sung by Syd Barrett. (This was before David Gilmour joined the band.) I'd say the song is fairly uninspiring, but hey, it's about a bike, right? "I've got a bike. / You can ride it if you like. / It's got a basket, a bell that rings, and things to make it look good. / I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it." Here's an MP3 clip, courtesy of Cheap-CDs.com. You can order the CD here.

"Bike" by MAL WEBB (2000)
A bouncy congo-style number from a contemporary Australian musician, featuring thick harmonies and excellent production values. Full MP3 download on his site. Lyrics:
Push on a pedal, push on a pedal / Get your (gasp) heart started
Push on a pedal / Push it down and up again
Get on your bike, sit on the seat / Push your feet on the pedals
And ride it all around / Ride it all around
Oh, get that car out of my way / I want to ride my bike today
It keeps me fit and gets me there / And won't go stinking up the air
Leave behind the daily grind / And let your mind unwind
If it's life you tend to like / You'd better get yourself a bike
Oh, oh, get yourself a bike

"The Critical Mass Song" by STEPHEN LA MARCA
Here's a page that lists the lyrics to the song. I don't know if there's music, or if it's ever been recorded.

"Cycling is Fun" by POOPIEHEAD (from Peek-A-Boo compilation, 1995)
A light-hearted, sing-songy tune celebrating the joys of cycling. The second verse is in Japanese, for no apparent reason. (See "Schwinn 24" above, for details on the Peek-A-Boo compilation.)
Bill Canfield points out that this is probably a cover of the Shonen Knife song from the album "Let's Knife."

"Funner than Cars" by RANDY NEUFELD & FRIENDS (2003)
An acapella original with several singers about the superiority of bikes over cars. Unfortunately fairly uninspiring. You can listen to an MP3 from the Chicago Bicycle Federation's website.

 


"Happy Cycling" by BOARDS OF CANADA (1998)
This is an electronica song that has nothing to do with cycling (and barely any lyrics of any kind at all). I'm listing it anyway only so that people don't keep suggesting it.
 


"I Like Bike" by LEX ZALETA (2005)

This is simply awful. It's a self-published MP3 with uninspired Dylanesque vocals on top of a cheap/annoying MIDI instrumentation. The chorus: Think of it as recycling / You're the environmental key. / Don't fret the next gas price hike. / Show 'em your sign / I like bike! / I like bike!

"I Ride My Bike" by CRACKER (1993)
A rather mixed bag. This is secret track #88 on Kerosene Hat.

And I ride my bike, And I drive my car
I drive it all around just to take me back to you

And I comb my hair, And I wear dress
I wear it all around just to take me back to you

CHORUS:

I ride my bike, take me back to you
I drive my car, take me back to you
I ride my bike, I drive my car, take me to you
I ride my bike, I drive my car, take me to you

REPEAT VERSES 1 & 2

CHORUS

 

MIDDLE SECTION:

This is story about dog, dog
When I ride my bike
And my hair is blowing straight back
I think of you wearing that brown mohair sweater
Soft mounds of breasts underneath
Or better yet one of those squiggly aluminum lawn chairs
I'm putting sun tan lotion on your long legs
wearing broad rim straw hat
Pair of Mickey mouse sunglasses
Looking just like lolita, Looking just like lolita
White sheets hanging on the line
White sheets blowing in the wind
A satellite dish pointed straight up at the heavens
satellite dish pointing straight up at the heavens,

Isis (Isis) (Isis) Isis! Isis! (Isis) (Isis) (Isis) Isis! Isis! Isis!
Isis! Isis! Isis! Isis!
Oh yeah! (Isis) arrrrrrrrrr

I ride my bike, I drive my car, to be with you
I ride my bike, I drive my car, to be wi' you
I ride my bike, I drive my car, to be wi' you
I ride my bike, I drive my car, to be wi' you


"Lance is King" by (UNKNOWN)
In Jan. 2005 someone sent me this MP3 parody about Lance Armstrong to the tune of ABBA's "Dancing Queen". I don't know anything more about it.

"Motorcrash" by THE SUGARCUBES (1988)
A typically enigmatic offering from Bjork's old band. It's apparently about a girl who gets a bicycle and then rescues/kidnaps motorists from auto crashes, nursing them back to health. See the lyrics.


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"My White Bicycle" by TOMORROW (1968)
"In the early days of British psychedelia, three bands were consistently cited as first-generation figureheads of the London-based underground sound: Pink Floyd, the Soft Machine, and Tomorrow. Pink Floyd became superstars and the Soft Machine influential cult legends, but Tomorrow is mostly remembered (if at all) for featuring Steve Howe as their lead guitarist in his pre-Yes days. Actually, Tomorrow was nearly the equal of the two more celebrated outfits. Along with the early Floyd and Soft Machine, they shared a propensity for flower-power whimsy. Though they were less recklessly innovative and imaginative, their songwriting was accomplished, with adroit harmonies, psychedelic guitar work, and adventurous structures and tempo changes. They never succumbed to mindless indulgence or jamming; indeed, their tracks were rather short and tightly woven in comparison with most psychedelic bands. A couple singles (especially "My White Bicycle") were underground favorites, but the group only managed to record one album before breaking up in 1968. Lead singer Keith West, even before the breakup, had a number two British hit with "Excerpt From a Teenage Opera," which helped inspire Pete Townshend's Tommy. Drummer Twink joined the Pretty Things and, later, the Pink Fairies." ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
John C. Alder of Tomorrow writes:
"My White Bicycle" was written out of what was actually going on in Amsterdam. One of the owners of Granny Takes a Trip, Nigel Weymouth, had gone there and come back with a Provos badge which he gave to me. They were kind of like a student anarchist group that believed everything should be free. In fact, they had white bicycles in Amsterdam and they used to leave them around the town. And if you were going somewhere and you needed to use a bike, you'd just take the bike and you'd go somewhere and just leave it. Whoever needed the bikes would take them and leave them when they were done.
Nigel told me about this and I told Keith West (lead singer) this and a bit later we went to Amsterdam and he wrote a song about it. So "My White Bicycle" comes out of that Provo thing.
The main guitar theme of "My White Bicycle" comes from what we were listening to at the time. We were listening to Ravi Shankar and Gabor Zarbo at the time. So our influences were Indian mainly. Steve may have picked up on that with the riff or he may have just pulled it out of the air, I don't know. It's like a droning sitar sound.
We recorded the album at Abbey Road Studios starting in the Spring of 1967. The Beatles were working on ST. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. Our album was released in early 1968.
The song has been covered by Nazareth, and appears on a solo album by Steve Howe (a member of Tomorrow). The San Francisco Art Lab sells a promotional poster for this song for $50.

"The Pushbike Song" by THE MIXTURES (1971)
This song is by The Mixtures, though it's often mistakenly attributed to Mungo Jerry. That's understandable. The Mixtures first hit it big by covering Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime", and their follow-up, "The Pushbike Song", is reputed to be very Mungo Jerry-esque. Oddly enough, The Mixtures also have a song called "Henry Ford" on the same album as "The Pushbike Song". "The Pushbike Song" made the Top 10 in the U.K. and Australia in 1971, and the lyrics are charming: "Riding along my pushbike honey / When I noticed you / Riding down town in a hurry honey / Down South Avenue / You looked so pretty / As you were riding along..."
 
"Riding on My Bike" by MADNESS (1982)
From UBL: "Along with the Specials, Madness were one of the leading bands of the ska revival of the late '70s and early '80s. As their career progressed, Madness branched away from their trademark "nutty sound" and incorporated large elements of Motown, soul, and British pop. Although the band managed one crossover American hit in 1983, the band remained a British phenomenon..." (more) An excerpt of the lyrics: "I've had my fill of petrol fumes / Attached myself to big balloons / And pumped them full of precious air / The traffic jam looks with despair."

"Side by Side"? by KERMIT & MISS PIGGY (from The Great Muppet Caper movie, 1981)
The Muppet Movie in 1979 delighted audiences with a short scene of Kermit riding a bicycle -- being no easy feat to film a puppet riding a bike, especially in the era before computer-generated graphics! The sequel, 1981's The Great Muppet Caper, tops that with a long scene of Kermit and Miss Piggy riding bikes side by side through a park, singing to each other, "Pretty day, sunny sky, lovely pictures dance in your eyes. It all seems so right. It all feels so rare. Summer song, sudden breeze, watch the wind play tags in the trees. The world is so right, so perfectly fair. Why couldn't we fly? I know we'd get by. Sunny sky, pretty day, just a push and we're on the way. Yes, couldn't we ride, side by side?"

"Schwinn 24" by TEEN TITANS (from Peek-A-Boo compilation, 1995)
In 1995, now defunct Austin record label Peek-A-Boo Records put out an album (vinyl at least, maybe also CD, long out of print regardless) of local punk and semi-punk bands doing songs about bicycles. I was able to borrow a copy of the record, but the offerings were disappointing -- the lyrics were unintelligible on most tracks. One track was done in Spanish, and the band recording that number (Happy Family) told the record producer that the song was about bicycles, but it wasn't. There are a few decent tracks, though, Schwinn 24 being one of them. There's definitely some punk distortion (even on the verse vocals), but that's broken by a charming chanting harmony leading to the chorus "peddle-peddle-peddle-peddle / peddle-peddle-peddle peddle...", and then puncuated by the screaming right before the chorus, "Peddle UP, peddle DOWN, peddle ALL around town, on my Schwin 24."

"South Carolina" by JOHN LINNELL (of "They Might Be Giants" fame; from the album State Songs, 1999)
John Linnell (of They Might Be Giants) delivers 16 songs, each based on a different U.S. state. South Carolina is about a bike crash, but there's a creepy overtone about crashing intentionally to try to collect insurance money. Here's an excerpt:
The other day my neighbor has a dented bike
Second day he called me from intensive care
Says he needs a picture of the dented bike
For the evidence of what a wreck he had

Accident, Accident

Lift that fork, eat that snail
Garcon summoned, have a new cocktail
Lift that fork, eat that snail
Garcon summoned, have a new cocktail

Crash my bicycle, Crash my bicycle
In a big South Carolina wreck
I crash my bicyle, Crash my bicycle, Crash my bicycle
In a big South Carolina wreck
I crash my bicyle

And I won some damages and they were punitive
By which I mean the punishment was damaging
It crushed my head, It crushed my head
Garcon, where's my drink?

See the full lyrics (misattributed to They Might Be Giants), or listen to a sample.


"Tour de France" by Kraftwerk (1983)
An offering from the German synth/dance band. The lyrics are brief and uninspiring. (English translation: "...Final sprint at the finish. Flat tire on the paving stones. The bicycle is repaired quickly. The peloton is regrouped. Comrades and friendship." See the complete lyrics in French & English or German, or listen to an MP3, download a MIDI version, or read more than you ever cared to know about this song.

"Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" by THE BEATLES (from The Beatles ["white album"], 1968)
Sure, it wasn't SUPPOSED to be about bicycles, but you can certainly see that it works that way. Just like the Beatles' "I'll Get You" wasn't SUPPOSED to be about sex. ("It's not like me, to pretend, but I'll get you, I'll get you in the end. Yes I will, I'll get you in the end. Oh yeah, oh yeah.")

Rewritten lyrics on BIKE JOURNAL
There's a thread on the Bike Journal forums where readers have submitted lyrics to popular songs, rewritten to be about bicycles. Note: You have to go through the (cumbersome) free registration process in order to view this thread.


 

 

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