Theme Ride Thursday: Union-Powered, a Labor Day Ride and Bucket Playlist

Did you know that Labor Day became a federal holiday in the United States in 1894 after President Grover Cleveland signed it into law? The holiday originated from the labor movement’s efforts to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of American workers. Unions have played a crucial role in positively impacting workers’ rights and labor conditions. Their advocacy has led to fair wages, reasonable working hours, and landmark reforms such as child labor laws and workplace safety regulations. Unions have empowered workers through collective bargaining, increasing job security, and promoting a more equitable society with reduced economic disparities. There has been a resurgence of unionization nationwide with landmark labor victories at Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple.  

Labor Day has always been a great theme for a cycling class since there are so many songs that focus on “work”—fitting for a cycle class, dontcha think?! So whether you want to focus on bemoaning the thought of working “9 to 5,” are sick of the “Night Shift,” or if you just want to “Take This Job and Shove It,” then you’ve got plenty of songs to choose from. On the flip side, you could always focus on the positive, especially if you’re one of the lucky ones who can “Work from Home.” Our Labor Day bucket playlist now boasts almost 200 songs to choose from.

Susan has done the “work” for you (ha ha!) and created a new theme ride called “Union Powered: A Labor Day Ride” that you can download below. It’s an interval profile made up of five loops. Each loop starts with a climb and is followed by a fast flat. Each loop is then followed by an easy recovery, which allows riders to prepare for the next loop. The profile is set to music celebrating workers and fair working conditions in observance of Labor Day, with the recovery songs being well-known trade union anthems that are frequently used for organizing. The goal of the profile is for riders to recognize their labor in building stamina through the series of progressively longer flat/climb/recovery combinations. Following each loop will be a progressively longer recoveryreferred to here as a “negotiated break”which is helpful since the climbs also get progressively longer.

If you like loop profiles, then be sure to check out the ICA Quick Profile—Let’s Go! This profile is modeled after it.

As usual with all of our theme rides, you can switch out some of the songs using the bucket playlist below (with almost 200 songs to choose from).

And if you have the ability to project videos at your club then add these two into rotation. They’re hilarious and might just be the perfect inspiration your class needs!

Work hard, play hard!

Look at those legs!



  1. One more thing….One of the members told me that Bruce Springsteen wrote She Works Hard for the Money. I had no idea.

  2. I taught a similar Labor Day ride yesterday and the class literally clapped when I was done!!
    It was so fun, but so difficult!!

  3. Some really great suggestions for Labor Day themes. I’ll add: Clampdown by The Clash; Let the Day Begin by The Call; Working with Fire & Steel by China Crisis; Working Girl by The Members; Good Work by BoDeans; Red Hill Mining Town by U2; Birth, School, Work, Death by The Godfathers; Busy Child by The Crystal Method; Werk Me by Hyper Crush; and Women Around the World At Work by Martha & The Muffins.

    1. thank you so much! I’ll add them to the list. I love when we can expand our playlists. =)

    2. Clampdown is probably the best work-related song there is! <3

  4. Here are some songs that I have in my Labor Day playlist: Bills by LunchMoney Lewis (126), Finest Worksong by REM (177), Worker’s Song by Dropkick Murphy’s (97), Dirty Work by Austin Mahone (105), Working on the Highway by Bruce Springsteen (189), Workin’ Day and Night by Michael Jackson (138), Five O’Clock World by the Vogues (127).

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