Ever been obsessed with a playlist?  Sometimes it happens to me.  It's happening now.  I'll admit it, there are many nights when I'm scrambling to put together music for the next morning's class or recycling an old ride. Because I only teach at one studio, and am blessed to have clients who take more than one of my classes a week, I try to keep it fresh, and can not get away with frequently repeating playlists and profiles. Other times, I'm prepared in advance and have the time to completely absorb the music and purpose of the class. This is one of those times.

When I was approached about doing an all acoustic ryde, I immediately said "yes," and then felt a little regret.  It was not the kind of "I shouldn't have made out with that guy in my tequila-induced bliss" regret, just a little reservation about making it work.  In an indoor cycling class, there is just something about a driving bass beat that you can FEEL in your body...surrendering into it transports you anywhere else than on this nowhere-going bike.  Not every song I use in class is my taste, but I usually have a pretty good feel for what is going to work on the bike.

Always up for a challenge, I scoured my library for all of the acoustic music I own, reached out to my FB friends for suggestions and did an iTunes search of all things "acoustic," "unplugged," "sessions" and "stripped."   It worked.  I think I've put together a great class.  Regardless, I've put together a great playlist.  It's been on permanent repeat in the car, on the computer and in my headphones as I'm writing this.  I love it.

Naturally, I've been thinking about why this is.  I've always had a love affair with unplugged, stripped-down music.  There's something just honest and raw and emotional about it.  There's no hiding behind studio magic.  It's REAL.  Well, it's as real as it gets in our technological culture. I think the idea of clearing out the extraneous noise and shedding layers is also part of why I love teaching so much.  Life outside the cycle room can be very complicated.  For everyone, this complication wears a different mask and has a different reason for it's existence.  Life inside the room is very simple.  It's simple because it's stripped down.  We are individuals but, at the same time, sharing an experience.  The differences in our lives tend to blur in a fog of endorphins, sweat, pedals and music.  The metaphorical playing field becomes even.  The client who drove up in the flashy sports car is climbing with the client who could only afford to come because of a special we are running.  The client who is cheating on her husband is sweating next to the woman whose husband had an affair and left her for another woman.  I may not choose to be your friend outside (or inside) of the room, and we may have different end results in sight, but we can work together.  We do work together. You know it when it happens.  You can feel it.

Since I started writing this post, I taught the acoustic class.  Yes, it was harder to pull up the energy than with traditional indoor cycling music, but I observed it transporting the class in a different way.  It's hard to describe, but it was all a little deeper and heavier.  I coached them to stay "in front" of the music instead of letting it "pull" them through the ride.  A day or 2 after the class, a few regulars told me that they were sore, more than usual.  I think the nature of the music encouraged a slower cadence (more resistance) on flat roads, and....whatdoyouknow?  They worked a little harder...imagine that.  

Lately, I've been reluctant to write out profiles here, because I now teach exclusively on RealRyder® bikes, so there's a little more involved, and I tend to teach "on the fly" more often, incorporating bike movement into the "feel" of the class.  However, for this one, I'll give it a shot.  Even if it's not for a full acoustic class, I love using these songs here and there.  I invite you to strip down, gear up, and see where it takes you.  xo Jen

1. Lay Me Down (Stripped) (4:32)/Graffiti6
Warm-Up: Seated flat with some slight turns. Standing flat to push out of the WU.

2. Trouble (Acoustic) (3:03)/P!nk Trouble (Sessions@AOL) - Single
Seated Climb: Holding longer turns side-to side, tapping up resistance during the left-hand turns.
One of my old favorite P!nk songs.  Not sure if it's still available.

3. Out of My Head (Acoustic Version) [Bonus Track] (3:54)/Theory of a Deadman
Standing Climb (3rd): Breakaways @ chorus.

4. What the Hell (Acoustic Version) (3:41)/Avril Lavigne
Seated flat off of the hill climb. Incorporate some short turns, depending on how the 
class is feeling to me.

5. Harder To Breathe (3:10)/Maroon 5 (1.22.03 Acoustic [EP])
Light incline (run) out of the saddle, hands in #2, top of bars. Standing turns.
Old one back from when I thought these guys were good. Great rhythm.

6. All Through the Night (4:41)/Cyndi Lauper & Shaggy  (The Body Acoustic)
Seated climb up to breakaways in a standing climb at the chorus. I do a visual here, in
which the class tries to catch a rider up ahead of them, taking a left turn to "go around"
the rider at the top of the interval.

7. Dynamite (iTunes Session) (3:59)/Taio Cruz
Seated flat, straight road, working harder (by adding resistance and/or increasing 
cadence) every 60 seconds (or so) moving from an RPE of 8 to 8.5 to 9.

8. Misery Business (Acoustic Version) (3:14)/Paramore
Standing climb, holding cadence on the quick side. No resistance or cadence increases.
One of those angry girl songs. Loooove this version.

9. Buster Voodoo (4:24)/Rodrigo y Gabriela
Flat road, incorporating turns and lifts out of the saddle, high RPE
Thanks to my girl, Dani, for this one.

10. Glycerine (Acoustic) (3:33)/Bush
Drop RPE, Seated climb/turns. Increasing resistance.
Old 90's fav. 

11. Chasing Cars (Exclusive Live Acoustic Version) (4:31)/Snow Patrol 
Standing straight climb, all about resistance...increasing 3 times to the top.

12. (Stronger) What Doesn't Kill You (iTunes Session) (3:25)/Kelly Clarkson
13. Some Nights (iTunes Session) (4:26)/Fun.
Flat road intervals (90 sec. each).  Some variation of the following: starting at RPE 8, take 2 turns (15 sec. each, 30 sec. total), drop to aero bars, hold straight in the saddle while increasing RPE to 8.5 (30 sec.), take RPE to a 9 while pushing out of the saddle on a standing flat (may add some turns here) (30 sec).  Recover for 30 sec. and repeat.
Fun.'s entire iTunes Session is great.  

14. Where the Streets Have No Name (Unplugged) (4:30)/30 Seconds to Mars
Final climb to the finish line. In the moment finish...however I feel like bringing it
home. Probably start as a seated climb and move to standing with increasing cadence.

15. Everlong (Acoustic Version) (4:11)/Foo Fighters
16. Sunday Morning  (4:15)/Maroon 5 1.22.03 Acoustic [EP]
17. Stuck in a Moment (Acoustic) (3:42)/U2


i too am a Real Ryder your playlist and routine!!!
Off the Bike said…
Hi Shannon,

Thanks! Where do you teach? I love the bikes.


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