In 2015, our ECommerce & Social Media Manager Ross worked in a South London Bike Shop. He was roped into leading a last minute spin class. Inspiration for his favourite playlist began.
I spent the summer of 2015 working in a bike shop in South London. It was a 46km round trip every day, involving 2 fairly punishing climbs. Not hard on paper, but those one that are short enough and near enough to the end of the ride to goad you into taking them at full gas every time. I’d usually work 4 days of the week and then one over the weekend, the other spent getting flogged at a regional amateur race in England’s green and unpleasant-for-a-58kg-climber lands. Day 1 of the working week was usually fine, fresh legged and full of energy. A podcast would wile away the 40 odd minutes it took on a good day. By day 4, however, things had usually taken a turn for the knackered and I needed something to give me a boost.
Around the same time, I occasionally had to fill in leading spin classes at the shop. It would be fairly last minute, the instructor not turning up for some reason, probably to do with it being a Saturday in July when there are better things to be doing. So, based I believe solely on the premise that I occasionally ‘trained’, I was given the hospital pass of stepping in to lead these classes. It really must be emphasised that people who take these classes usually know what they are doing, there’s technique, style and knowledge that go into making sure a room full of people at varying levels of fitness have a good time. This was technique, style and knowledge I did not have.
My decision was, in hindsight, quite rogue. As a child of the mid to late noughties, an avid reader of NME and rapacious viewer of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, I’d developed a love for what would now be described as ‘Landfill Indie’. Born in the afterglow of Brit Pop and in the wake of The Strokes, it was a sound of suburban lads singing about going out, getting in trouble and then doing it all again the next day. It isn’t particularly complex stuff, most of the time.
But for a 13 year old searching for some kind of personality; a big riff, loud drums and a regional accent really does grab you.
Anyway. This taste for guitar based indie music stuck with me and while my later teens saw me branch out into exploring 90s Hip Hop, Psych Rock, Funk, Soul Disco, 60s & 70s rock and all the rest, my one true love has always been the post-punkier, indie end of the spectrum. I’ve always had a playlist for riding. It’s called ‘Bike’ and I made it in 2015 to get me through those commutes. It grew and grew to a list that never had a structure or an order to it, I’d just smack it on shuffle and ride for 3 hours. I’d always manage to find a way of matching the tempo of the song to the tempo of my riding, even if the music was a bit more sedate. I liked the idea of not knowing what was going to come next, rather than a mix tape style.
It was this playlist I dipped into when first floundering while leading a spin class. Who needs the usual Euro Trance? I thought. I’m going to stick on video of the 2010 Tour of Flanders, blast some Artctic Monkeys and make them do the same turbo session I do 3 times a week. Thankfully for the people of South London, by September my second year of uni had come around, I’d earnt enough beer money for first term and I left in a cloud of shop dust (I’d neglected the sweeping) and the sound of a thousand mistuned Fenders blaring out.