bike shenanigansHello 2014!  It was another great year over here at Spinning Music, holding steady at 870,000 views (the blog passed the 3,000,000 view mark on January 6, 2014) and collecting visitors from 189 countries in 2013.  (I love hearing from you!)  Nearly half the traffic (426,774 views) came from the USA, 97,883 views from the UK, and 68,614 from Canada (my home).  In South America, Brazil leads with 7,087 views; in Africa, South Africa takes it with 6,659 views.  In continental Europe, Germany leads with 35,547 views, and in Asia (the continent with the least number of views) India leads with 1,380 views.  Hey, the blog even got 7 views from tiny Liechtenstein.

top5The top rides of 2013 were: Work Hard Play Hard Cycling Mix (2013 – 6,439 views), Gonna Make You Sweat Cycling Mix (a perennial fave) (2008 – 6,230 views), Rock ‘n Roll Cycling Mix (2009 – 4,961 views), Best of 2012 Cycling Mix (2012 – 4,941 views) and Rumour Has It Cycling Mix (2012 – 4,803 views).  I think my personal favourite rides of the year were Lisa Goldman’s S**tload of Climbing ride and my Mortal Kombat HIIT ride, which for me, will always be the ride that brought my mojo back.

Top referring sites (thank you!) were YouTube (I was initially confused about this, since I don’t post there.  Where are thousands of hits coming from?  The vast majority of the traffic comes from folks who watch Workout Music Service (not affiliated with me) but I couldn’t find a link).  The other top referrers are The Sufferfest, (the blog of Dutch cyclist Pierre Gorissen), Spinning Mixes (awesome, because J.R. Atwood retired his blog in 2009 – I love that it’s as relevant as it ever was), and Pinterest (also not somewhere I post, but more understandable than YouTube).  YouTube and ActiveGeek are both new; the others are repeat top-referrers.  Dave McQuillen over at the Sufferfest has been so successful with his site (he produces awesome training rides with music, cues, and video of races) he actually quit his day job in 2012 to devote himself to suffering full-time.  (Congratulations, Dave!)

Props and a huge thank you to the top five commenters who shared their indoor cycling experience and fantastic taste in music this year: Lisa Goldman (who has also become a friend off-blog notwithstanding that we live 6,000 km apart), Judy, Kelly, BAR, and SteveSpinList.  You rock.  Steve heads up a blog with the catchy title For The Ride Inside (dammit, why didn’t I think of that one?) and he’s prolific, too – he’s already added six posts in 2014.  Go check it out.

2013 was the year that Spotify took over (check out their Ultimate Workout Playlist), but we sad Spotify-less Canadians have to resort to Mozilla plug-ins to even be able to sample Spotify songs.  (Hey, at least I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore, frantically switching from a Spotify playlist in my browser window to iTunes to check out new music.)

Top 25 Spinning Tunes2013 also happened to be a GREAT year for indoor cycling music (dare I say, the best year since I started teaching in 2008?)  I had a heck of a time choosing my top 25 indoor cycling songs of the year.  I’ve been writing and re-writing and scribbling my list since late December 2013.

1.  Wake Me Up – Avicii (4:10): Far and away my favourite cycling song of the year for its four big, juicy, happy, sprint intervals.  (I’m not alone here – it went to #1 in 22 countries.)  In fact, I’ll come out and say Avicii’s True album is the best album of the year for indoor cycling music.  Buy it.

2.  Best I Ever Had – Gavin DeGraw (3:46):  Four sprint intervals, a great seated flat, high energy blue-eyed soul, I am all about this Gavin DeGraw hit.

3.  Counting Stars – OneRepublic (4:17):  A seated flat from heaven.

4.  How I Feel – Flo Rida (2:50):  Darn, Flo Rida keeps coming up with these great beats.  I used this one for a climb but it would also be a killer song for jumps.

5.  Timber (feat. Ke$ha) – Pitbull (3:24):  I am pretty sure this ear-worm is not actually about trees, or lumber, or forestry.

6.  Heart Upon My Sleeve – Avicii (4:40):  Dare ya not to climb to this one.  There’s a soft, slow bit from 2:19 – 3:30 where I often get my riders to dig even deeper and focus for the minute where the music doesn’t support their work.

7.  Let Her Go – Passenger (4:13):  Sweet, sweet, poignant cool down music.  My absolute favourite cool down song of the year.  Yes.  Just yes.  (Purists will point out this song was released in 2012 but I am including it on a technicality because it didn’t get released in Canada until 2013.)

8.  Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. and Pharrell) – Robin Thicke (4:23):  Thicke had a massive #1 hit with this song of summer 2013 that sparked a discussion about consent (“good girls… I know you want it…” “the way you grab me, must want to get nasty”) and woke up a lot of folks to the fact that many teens and 20-somethings don’t really understand what consent is.  Just.  Don’t.  Watch.  The.  Uncensored.  Video.

9.  Get Lucky (Joe Max Remix) v2.0 – Daft Punk (5:28):  I use this remix of the other “song of 2013” as a warm-up.

10.  The Monster (feat. Rihanna) – Eminem (4:10):  Okay, yeah, Eminem is hard core and I know not everyone appreciates his music, but there’s something about an angry man that makes me want to climb a hill.  Plus, I dare you to listen without tapping a foot, even if you loathe the guy’s music.

11.  Burn – Ellie Goulding (3:51):  The jumps will nearly kill you.  My quads get sore just thinking about it.

12.  Dear Boy – Avicii (7:59):  This long song offers both climbing and seated flats.

13.  Royals – Lorde (3:1):  Entrancing cool down music from this precocious New Zealander (seriously: she just turned 17).

14.  Work Work – Britney Spears (4:08):  Spears’ “You want a hot body?  You want a Maserati?  You better work work…” reminds us that the only way we’re going to progress is with, well, work.  Jumps or climbing; your pick.

15.  My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light ‘Em Up) – Fall Out Boy (3:09):  A relentless climb.  Every time I listen to it, I think: what the heck is this song about?  It makes no sense.

16.  This is What it Feels Like (feat. Trevor Guthrie) – Armin Van Buuren (3:23):  A sweet seated flat.  I always try to work in Van Buuren’s inspiring story about following your dreams: he swapped law school for DJ work (how’d you want to be in the room for THAT conversation with his parents) but it took off almost immediately.  He’s been voted the #1 DJ in the world five separate times and word has it, he commands more than $100,000 per gig.  Not bad for a guy who initially dropped out of law school (he completed his degree in 2003).

17.  Animals – Martin Garrix (5:04):  Another Dutch wonder-kid, Garrix is only 17 and wanted to be a DJ from the age of 8.  This single didn’t do much in the USA (peaked at #51) but went to #1 in the UK and Belgium, and #2 in France and Switzerland.  I use it as a warm up.  Watch this guy – he’s going to do some cool things.

18.  Applause – Lady Gaga (3:32):  I am a huge Gaga fan (still kicking myself for not driving the 3 hours from Prince Edward Island to come home mid-vacation to catch her 2008 show in my home town.  (She was mid-list on a full day music festival.)  Folks who’ve been hanging around Spinning Music for a while will know I played The Edge of Glory until I wore it out and tagged it the #1 indoor cycling tune of 2011.  But ARTPOP?  Meh.  This is the only song from the album that has made its way to my iPhone.

19.  Gone Gone Gone – Phillip Phillips (3:30):  I gave Phillips a nod in the Top 25 of 2012 with Home.  This one has great cool down energy.

20.  Mermaid of Salinas – Basement Jaxx (5:46):  “Give me a shimmy shimmy!”  I hadn’t even heard of this song until Rolling Stone tapped it as one of the best of the year.  It’s got a sunny Miami vibe, which is ironic, considering the band hails from gritty Brixton, South London.

21.  Hey Porsche – Nelly (3:29):  Apparently, I was the only person who liked the lead song from Nelly’s most recent album (it peaked at #42 on the Billboard Chart).  Equating a sports car with a woman isn’t exactly original, but darnit, I like this song about a guy and his car.

22.  We Own It (Fast and Furious) – 2Chainz and Wiz Khalifa (3:48):  Inspiring lyrics for a grind of a hill.

23.  Woman’s World – Cher (3:41):  Her voice is unmistakable and you know what?  She’s 67 and she’s still got it.

24.  Mind Your Manners – Pearl Jam (2:40):  2013 gave us a dearth of sprinting songs for some reason, and this Motorhead-lite tune from Pearl Jam is just the thing.

25.  Roar – Katy Perry (3:44):  An inspiring message, perfect for the cool down.

Songs that were oh-so-close: I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding) – Calvin Harris, Feel This Moment (feat. Christina Aguilera) – Pitbull, Just Give Me a Reason (feat. Nate Ruess) – P!nk, Radioactive – Imagine Dragons (would have been higher but never quite figured out what to do with it), Pompeii – Bastille (bet we hear a lot more from these guys), Clarity (feat. Foxes) – Zedd and Stay the Night (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore) – Zedd

Songs I wish had made the list, but were released in 2012: Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert) by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, for it’s message of support for equal marriage, Play Hard (feat. Ne-Yo and Akon) by David Guetta, Inner Ninja (feat. David Myles) by local guy Classified (3:22): (I think of it as gateway hip hop, for folks who aren’t sure if they like the genre).  Inspiring message and awesome video, too.

Songs I never want to hear again: Gentleman – PSY, The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) – Ylvis (which at least started as a joke).

So what do you think?  Did I get it right?  Overlook one of your favourites?