Step Outside Your Musical Box: Four Rock and Roll Playlists (Good for ROCKtober!)

As Neil Young famously sang, “Hey, hey, my, my, rock and roll can never die.”

ROCKtober is a great time to cue up some rock ‘n’ roll tunes in your classes, but rock music can and should be a part of indoor cycling playlists all year round. There is just something about an electric guitar that makes you want to turn up the resistance and push your way through a hard interval.

I’ve got four great bucket playlists for you to dig through for your classes. Yes, you heard that‚ FOUR!! If you love rock and roll, these playlists will be right up your alley. If you don’t love rock or have riders who love it but you are unfamiliar with the genre, I’ve got you covered. Hey, we might even turn you into a lover of rock!  

If that’s you, I recommend the Classic Rock playlist, my first of four rock bucket playlists. This one has over 400 songs but, honestly, depending on who you talk to and what you want to include, “classic rock” could encompass many thousands of songs. I tried to limit the tracks to the most well-known and loved rock songs of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, and even a little into the ’90s. (You won’t find too many 1980s retro songs in this collection even though one might call those artists “classic rock.”)

In this classic playlist you’ll find groups like Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Doors, Judas Priest, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Kansas, Foreigner, Journey, Heart, Joan Jett, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, and many more. 

Here is one of my most favorite classic rock songs for an indoor cycling class, “La Grange” by ZZ Top. It’s 81 rpm with a ton of energy for a real hard push. At this cadence, depending on your profile, you can choose to describe a fast climb or a big-gear flat. Whatever you do, get ready to lay it all on the table starting at 0:35. 

The second rock-and-roll playlist you’ll find below is a collection of more current artists. These are mostly from the 1990s to the present.

This playlist of over 490 tracks good for cycling includes artists like Fall Out Boy, Volbeat, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, HAIM, Phoenix, Bastille, Linkin Park, Seether, Weezer, and so many more. (You’ll find some crossover with the women of rock playlist below.)

Try this track, “Miracle Mile” by Cold War Kids. It makes for an energetic fast climb at 143 bpm. 

My third bucket playlist will make for an extra-special theme ride—how about an all-women Rocktober ride in October or a Women of Rock ride during International Women’s Month in March? This playlist has about 260 tracks (please, let me know your favorites in the comments!) and includes classics like Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, The Pretenders, Pat Benatar, Blondie, Sinead O’Connor, and more recent female groups like Evanescence, HAIM, Spiritbox, The Pretty Reckless, Within Temptation, Dorothy, Florence + The Machine, Veruca Salt, and more.

If you haven’t heard of The Pretty Reckless, then let me introduce you to a real femme fatale rocker. This track, “Just Tonight,” is 82 bpm. Ride at a moderate intensity in the saddle, and then on the chorus either add resistance and stand or increase cadence in the saddle. 

The final bucket playlist (~150 songs) is perfect for a slightly different twist on a rock-themed ride; this one is all tracks that are actually about rock and roll or that have “rock and roll” or “rock star” in the lyrics or title. You’ll find classics like “Rock and Roll High School” by The Ramones and “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. You’ll also find “So What” by Pink where she sings, “So, so what, I’m still a rock star, I’ve got my rock moves…” It’s 126 bpm for a steep, hard climb at 63 rpm. (As you can tell by the lyrics, it’s also a great song for an anti-Valentine ride!)

ICA members can find our four rock-and-roll–themed playlists with well over 1,300 tracks below—you’ll never run out energetic and fun songs for your rocker cycling classes! And remember, even if you don’t use Spotify to play your music in your classes and only have a free Spotify account, you can still follow the playlists below and use them for ideas for where you get your music.

As usual, let us know in the comments if you have some suggestions for your favorites to add to our playlists.

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