A Cadence-Driven and Powerful Women-Who-Rock Playlist

Dru Ryan
by Dru Ryan
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A Cadence-Driven and Powerful Women-Who-Rock Playlist

“I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.” Susan B. Anthony

With the right music and group energy, indoor cycling temporarily frees the rider from the outside world. The self-reliance comes from the conversation between your legs and the pedals, hands and handlebars and your butt with the saddle. This Women Who Rock playlist is a three-part profile ending with successive climbs.

The focus is on cadence and power because nothing is more appropriate for a Women Who Rock ride.


At 160 beats per minute, Blondie’s “Maria” effortlessly places the rider at a cadence of 80 rpm. Allow the chorus to invite another 5–10 rpm before drawing down for the second verse. Then repeat. Heart’s “Barracuda” calls for added resistance as you lose 15 rpm to tap into the power in your legs.


Valerie June’s “Working Woman Blues” and FATM’s “Spectrum” implore cadence as the tempos ebb and flow. Use the music’s faster pace to increase cadence or resistance before easing back into your normal cadence sans extended recovery. Three sets of rolling hills await on Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” Climb the slower parts in the saddle (the first is 23 seconds in) before launching out of the saddle for the downhill. Be sure to pedal until the very last note.

“Crystals” by Of Monsters and Men is a 4-minute time trial. I ask my riders for 1.2 miles, including recovery. A well-earned sprint awaits on the “Orange is the New Black” theme song “You’ve Got Time.”


> A Revved-Up Playlist for Your Indoor Cycling Workout
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Climbing does not mean pedalling ultra-slow. Add resistance to generate a cadence between 65–80 to start Aretha Franklin’s, “I Say a Little Prayer.” Increase cadence, in or out of the saddle, on each chorus. Maintain a steady cadence, then add resistance as the sounds builds on the Nina Simone cover “SeaLion.” After a brief respite, Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” is perfect for intervals — in and out of the saddle.


As an instructor, I have two rules when it comes to climbing. First, your cadence should be under your average and your speed should be above. Second, resistance in the saddle should allow you to maintain your balance out of the saddle — you shouldn’t pedal like the Road Runner if you’re climbing. Gorecki’s, “Lamb” is a progressive 6-minute climb, with recovery built into the beginning. Don’t treat it as a sprint! Leave that to Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield.” Repeat the climb/sprint process on the final two tracks, surging on the chorus of each.


Release resistance and allow the endorphins to kick in with Carole King and Joan Baez. Now you know the profile, go put on your headphones and pedal to, with and for all the women who rock — both on and off the bike!


> Women’s Workout Clothes
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About the Author

Dru Ryan
Dru Ryan
Dru teaches indoor cycling at Equinox in Washington, D.C. His History of Hip-Hop classes at George Mason University and brief deejay career in the Bronx are two big reasons why his playlists are unique. Ryan‘s cycling claim to fame is having the former road world champion, Peter Sagan, comment on an Instagram photo. Follow Dru (drucyles) on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.


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