26 Inspirational Playlists with 1,800 Songs to Last You a Lifetime!

The season of charity rides and events is upon us. Well, you can do a charity ride any time, but many of the annual events are held in the first part of the year when more people are inclined to come inside and ride. Putting unique playlists together for these events can be incredibly time consuming, especially if you want to avoid using the same songs year after year. The great news is that the music industry has done a excellent job of putting out powerful music over the last few years that works perfectly for special events and inspirational profiles in our indoor cycling classes.

I’ve been curating inspirational songs for 20 years. I first started this quest on iTunes and then moved to Spotify in 2015. Originally, I put them into a handful of bucket* playlists, but then these playlists started growing so big, I realized I needed to break them down into smaller, more specific categories. That way, when you are looking for an inspirational song for a specific motivational profile for an event like a charity ride for breast cancer or to help a local in need, you can be much more specific in what you are looking for. No need to scroll through (or listen to) hundreds of songs that wouldn’t work for your profile or event. I guarantee, this will save you many hours of searching.

*A bucket playlist is the term I give to a playlist that is a large collection of songs around a certain theme or idea. 

In my ICA Spotify account, I have about 50 folders with over 1,000 playlists with tens of thousands of songs. (These are not public playlists.) I have shared hundreds of these bucket playlists with ICA members, including profiles as well as bucket playlists such as theme songs or our SOYMB (Step Outside Your Musical Box) series designed to expand your musical repertoire and the genres you use in your classes so you can reach a wider audience. I also have bucket playlists for songs categorized for a certain use in a cycling class, such as FTP tests, warm-ups and cool-downs, recoveries, sprints, genres, Tour de France stages, and more. Many more of these playlists are in the building phase and I am planning to share them in future Theme Ride Thursdays or SOYMB on ICA. I continue to add to these playlists little by little, day after day, week after week. Whenever Spotify gives me new music in my Discover Weekly or when I’ve Shazamed a new song when I’m out and about, I’ll categorize them in my Spotify. Some songs will be added to multiple playlists and themes. 

In my Inspirational/Motivational folder that I mentioned above, I’ve got 26 different playlists. Some have just a few songs, others have a few hundred—and they will continue to grow. To give you an idea of how I differentiated them, below is a screenshot of the playlists in this folder:

In addition to charity rides or special events, some of these categories are great for their own theme ride, such as “Heroes/Superheroes,” “Women Empowerment,” or my favorite, “Life is Good” theme rides. Others you might want to mix and match, or just pull out a song or two to send a positive message in your regular classes. And other categories contain songs that help riders dig in to make it through a high-intensity interval or a grueling race simulation, such as “Push It to the Limit,” “I Can/I Will,” “Let’s Do This/Fire It Up,” “Try/Confidence,” or “Victory/Winning.” The latter playlist also provides inspiration for your favorite sports championship profiles such as Super Bowl or World Series. 

A few songs reside in more than one playlist so there is some crossover, but there are over 2,000 songs in these 26 playlists (which equates to about 1,800 unique songs). That would probably take you over a hundred hours to curate yourself, so…you’re very welcome!

If unique, empowering songs are your thing, I’ve made your life a whole lot easier. You can see by the titles of the playlists that you can be very specific in searching for the perfect song to fit your profile when you want to make a point based on the theme of your ride, send a particular message, or just bring a smile to your riders’ faces with meaningful inspirational lyrics. 

Why not decide to become known as that instructor who has a positive message in every single class?

These playlists can help you do just that.

I am happy to share this years-long labor of love with ICA members. Click here to be taken to the 26 Spotify playlists listed above. These are not public playlists so they are only available to members. As usual, if you have some additions to these playlists, please let me know in the comments or post them in the ICA FB group.
















  1. Thank you for these playlists! They are great 🙂

  2. When words fail us, use a song. What a gold mine!

  3. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

  4. These are great, Jen – I am always looking for inspirational tracks! Two suggested additions: My Shot by The Roots (from the Hamilton Mixtape) would make a great addition to your Rise up list. It takes a while before they get to the “Rise Up” lyrics, but when they do, it’s powerful. Second suggestion – maybe I missed it, but I did not see Cloud Cult’s, There’s So Much Energy In Us – and that one is incredible.

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