Push Cadence to This Austin City Limits Playlist

Dru Ryan
by Dru Ryan
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Push Cadence to This Austin City Limits Playlist

Indoor cycling is a marriage between cadence and resistance governed by the ability to provide oxygen to your muscles. Simply spinning at 110+ RPM without resistance is as ineffective as spinning below 60 RPM with heavy resistance. Effective cyclists manipulate cadence and resistance to maintain effort over long periods.

This cadence-based profile pays homage to the 2016 Austin City Limits lineup. This will get you ready for October’s ACL, however, don’t get totally lost in the music and forget to work.


Set a goal of 70–90 rpm to warm up your legs to The xx’s “On Hold” and “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar. Focus on form and breathing technique. You want to breathe comfortably during the warmup.


Cyclists rarely coast. We manipulate resistance to allow our legs to contribute to the effort. Feel the wind at your back on Banks and Steelz’s “Giant” as you pedal between 80–100 rpm.  “Imperium” by Madeon is a steady state cadence track. Choose a comfortable cadence and stay within plus/minus 2 of that number. Add 3–5 rpm on Mumford & Sons, “The Wolf” and add 2–4 mph on the chorus, then repeat.


Cyclists enjoy dropping the hammer — these brief max efforts push your cardiovascular system and increase aerobic capacity. A willingness to suffer is a must, and these should leave you breathless. The first third of “Shakedown” by Valerie June, provides a brief recovery. An accelerated tempo invites an increase in cadence and resistance for a 30-second speed burst.  “Collard Greens” by ScHoolboy Q is similarly structured with intense efforts in or out of the saddle.  Similar, chorus initiated surges to “Hold the Line” and “S.O.B.” complete your visit to Sufferlandia.


As opposed to solely straining your muscular (cadence less than 75 rpm) or cardiovascular systems (more than 100 rpm), cyclists find a comfortable middle ground. Start “Creep” by Scala & Kolacny with cadence in the 80s, surging 5–10 rpm along with the tempo. Then ride the original “Creep” by Radiohead utilizing more resistance with a slower cadence in or out of the saddle. “The Funeral” by Band of Horses acts as a transition into the final sprint finish.


Find out how fast you can pedal a mile to “Headsprung” by LL Cool J. A tenth of a mile every 20 seconds gets you there in 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The song is 4 minutes, set a pace and own it! Find some breath on verses of the The Weeknd’s “False Alarm” while sprinting on the uptempo chorus.


Use “Come Down” by Anderson Paak to cool down and gracefully return to a resting heart rate. The final three tracks provide an opportunity to maintain a steady cadence sans an elevated heart rate.


> A Climbing Playlist Set to the Giro d’Italia
> A Cadence-Driven and Powerful Women-Who-Rock Playlist
> A Cyclist Playlist Inspired by Redwood Forests (and Hills)

Enjoy the ride and checkout the recently released 2017 ACL lineup and make your own cadence playlist!

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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