Theme Ride Thursday: Are You Ready for the End of Summer and Back to School?

It’s that time of year again! The one children dread and parents love—Back to School! We’ve got three profiles ready for your use and we’ve added plenty of new songs to our back-to-school playlist that’ll help you get back into the swing of alarm clocks, carpools, and after-school activities. Your riders will have a blast as you ride one of these three profiles below (or use them as inspiration to create your own, and mix and match your favorite songs).

Back-to-School Rolling Hills (Profile)

This profile from 2022 is my most recent theme ride for the end of summer/back to school and you can be sure I’ll be teaching this again in early September as it was such a big hit last year. It’s a series of fast flats to climbs with a downhill recovery in between that I created shortly after we launched a power training program at my club. (The profile has a short FTP test in it; if you don’t train with power, I give you several options of what to do instead.) I use some of Billy Coburn’s trivia questions from the “Back to School for One More Day” profile (see below) which got my riders giggling. I asked them questions like how many times were they sent to the principal’s office or if they were the teacher’s pet. I sure was!

Back-to-School Climbs (Profile)

This profile from our archives contains four climbs of varying length, steepness, cadence, and intensity. While the underlying training purpose is to work on climbing muscles and the cardiovascular system, the outward focus is to simply have fun with the music (Ferris Bueller, anyone?) while working pretty dang hard! The music is a mix of genres with folk, indie, R&B, pop, punk, retro, and classic rock. It also spans the school age, from kindergarten and elementary, to high school and on up to college.

And, you get to re-enact this iconic scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

While riding to this song:

Back to School for One More Day (Profile)

And if your students aren’t all parents there is one thing we have in common…we all went to school, and all likely have some fun, crazy, embarrassing, and poignant memories. And so do you! This ride from our archives was put together by ICA member Billy Coburn one afternoon while perusing his Facebook feed showing “Julie/Johnny on their first day of school” with placards in hand announcing what grade they were entering.

Billy took ICA’s extensive Back to School bucket playlist and decided to poke some fun and give it a shot. The end result was quite surprising and super fun for all involved. Plus, it’s an intense workout! (There is a caveat, though. Make sure to read about Billy’s ride here. He cuts up his songs on MixMeister so you’ll need to augment his suggested playlist with some songs of your own from our bucket playlist below. We post his ride so you take advantage of his creative idea and fun trivia questions to incorporate into your own ride.)

Back-to-School Bucket Playlist

Our bucket playlist has 165+ songs! Some are pro-school (“Be True to Your School”), some are anti-school (“Another Brick in the Wall”), some are about the awkwardness of being a teenager (“Awkward”), some—quite a few, it seems!—are about teacher-student relationships (“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”) or student relationships (“We’re Gonna Be Friends”), some are about the crazy things school kids do (“Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room”), some are about things kids would rather be doing (“Bang on the Drum All Day), and some are just a plain mockery of school (“Fight For Your Right”).

Here are two of my favorites from this playlist:

(Fast forward to 1:10)

And can we just talk about how awesome this remix is featuring the kids of Oakland and Marshawn Lynch?

ICA members can access the Spotify bucket playlist below. (The three profiles are available in the links above to each profile page.)


  1. Another great workout, Jennifer! Class love it! Thanks!

  2. There’s ano Eicc Prydz mix of this which comes in with an RPM in the low 60’s….would work really well with this profile I think?

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