Theme Ride Thursday: With a Little Help from Our Friends

June 8 is National Best Friend Day and July 30 is International Friendship Day, giving you two occasions for a special best friends–themed ride—and we have just the profile for you! Created by Fern Stancer, “My BFF: A Ride to Celebrate Friendships” is designed to honor the special bonds formed in your cycling classes. (ICA members can access the profile and playlists below.)

Friendships, like cycling, boost happiness and reduce stress. We all need that one good friend who brings joy and support to our lives, and this ride is a tribute to them.

During tough moments in a workout, I often think about what my friend Debbie would say. She would remind me that I am stronger than I think and capable of anything. This thought helps me push through the hardest parts, using my friend’s encouragement as a mantra.

This profile features two climbs, intervals, and flats, offering plenty of opportunities for riders to challenge themselves with speed and resistance variations. The ride ends with a fun final song, reminding us that the experience of indoor cycling with friends is even more enjoyable.

As you’ve come to expect from ICA, we’ve curated a bucket playlist on the theme of friendship, currently with 180 songs. This will allow you to customize Fern’s ride or create your own profile and playlist. If you have any favorite friendship-themed songs that we missed, share them in the comments!

Take a listen to a few of our recommendations for your BFF ride:

All My Friends, Michael Franti, 3:04, 86 bpm
The perfect track to open your class about friendships as you warm up. The lyrics say it all!

Best Friend (feat. Nervo, The Knocks & Alisa Ueno), Sofi Tukker
The lyrics of this track are perfect for this theme: You are my best friend and we’ve got some s*** to shoot! There are two versions of this song on Spotify (find both in our bucket playlist); one is 3:44 at 125 bpm. Use that one for a climb—try increasing resistance every minute from moderate to above threshold. 

The second version is 3:04 at 102 rpm (the one linked below). You can do a consistent high-cadence interval at 102 rpm or start in the 80s rpm and surge to 102 rpm on the chorus, starting with the lyrics “Yo, you wanna meet me at the bar?”

FRIENDS, Marshmellow, Anne-Marie, 3:22, 95 bpm
The lyrics have a bit of a sting to them: We’re f-r-i-e-n-d-s, not lovers! But hey, that’s a good thing, too, right? Perform an interval by pedaling at 95 rpm at a somewhat hard intensity, then surge the legs +10 rpm to 105 rpm on the chorus to above threshold where it starts to sting just a little. That’ll teach them!

Best Bad Friend, Michael Patrick Kelly, Rea Garvey, 2:53, 92 bpm
We’ve all had friends like this at one point in our lives—the one who will get you into trouble (maybe even arrested!); they’re always late and a bit lazy, but you’ll do anything for them. They’re the ones you’ll call when you’re down on your luck. This fun track has enough energy for a high-cadence interval but can play a recovery role as well. 

Be My Friend, Dario G, 8:08, 155 bpm
A long song like this works well for a mostly seated sub-threshold interval at 78 rpm. The song takes a break at 5:09 for about a minute—a good time to stand and stretch the legs.

You’ve Got a Friend, James Taylor, 4:28, 91 bpm
Use this classic track for your cool-down or post-class song. Carole King has a sweet version as well. 

Other suitable cool-down options are “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers, “Old Friends” by Everything but the Girl, “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5, or “Stand By Me” by Ben King.

ICA members can access Fern’s profile “My BFF: A Ride to Celebrate Friendships” and the FRIENDS bucket playlist (with 180 songs) below.

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