10. Queen, "Bicycle Race"
This was, of course, unavoidable. It is probably the best known song about cycling. Queen (and specially early John Deacon songs) are now a guilty pleasure for me. But when I was a kid I unashamedly liked them. The naked "fat bottomed girls" of this video helped, I must say. When I was at school there was an inexplicably antinomy: you were either a Queen fan or a Kiss fan. You had to choose between them, as if there were no other rock groups in the world. I was a Queen fan. They played in Argentina when I was 11 and, at that age, it was a revulsive event to see (on TV) a real british rock band with an ambiguously provocative singer in leotards! The "I don't like Star Wars" and "I don't believe in Superman" lyrics posed a minor problem to me, but I discovered that I could disagree with them and still like the song.
9. Ex aequo: Beach Boys, "It's a beautiful day" / Shonen Knife, "Cycling is fun"
The Beach Boys song is a b-side saved by a rocking piano and a propulsive chorus. Brian Wilson was long gone (we're talking 1979 here) so this is not exactly their finest hour. But who can dislike a song that talks about californian freeways jammed with bikes instead of cars. Shonen Knife is a mix of a 60's group and Sonic Youth in an all-girl japanese trio. That is to say that their song feels as sunny and fun as the boys tune.
8. Ex aequo: Tomorrow, "My white bike" / Pink Floyd, "Bike" / Dukes of Stratosphere, "Bike ride to the moon"
Tomorrow are an overlooked British invasion group and this was their only hit (later covered by hard rock disaster Nazareth). The Pink Floyd song has a similar psychedelic sound since it's from the Barrett era. It's the closing track on their first album but it doesn't compare with masterpieces such as "Lucifer Sam". The Dukes song is clearly based on the Barrett tune.
7. Tom Waits, "Broken Bicycles"
The bike as metaphor for lost love. From the great One from the heart soundtrack.
6. Sugarcubes, "Motorcrash"
Seems to be about a girl that rescues injured people from car accidents with her bike. Nice Björk vocals.
5. Boards of Canada, "Happy cycling"
Great track off their superb Music has the right to children album (1998). I think the video was done much later and the idea was lifted from Michel Gondry's video for the Chemical Brothers' "Star guitar" (or perhaps it was the other way around).
And now, for something completely different
Bonus track: Ives Montand, "A bicyclette"
Back to the countdown. The last four...
4. The Clientele, "Bicycles"
3. TV on the radio, "Bicycles are red hot"
2. The Smiths, "This Charming man"
This is really not about cycling, but it starts with the words "A punctured bicycle / On a hillside desolate" so I think it counts. And, anyway, this is one of the best song ever, so it could fit in any "best of" list. If you don't think it's valid, replace it with The Pixies' "Tony's Theme".
And the quintessential
1. Kraftwerk, "Tour de France"