Songs about walking and cycling

Transit tunes: Songs to (not) drive to

The Brooklyn Paper
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Get into gear!

Transportation Alternatives — which advocates alternatives to driving — is throwing a Bicyclists’ Ball and Pedestrian Prom at Boerum Hill’s Roulette on Aug. 12. But despite the theme of the evening, organizers said the bop’s DJ will not be exclusively spinning songs about alternative transportation. To correct this grievous oversight, The Brooklyn Paper has compiled a play list of the best songs about walking, cycling, and public transit, which the party — or any party — is free to use.

Warning — some music clips may not be entirely safe for work.

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers

Possibly the most committed pedestrians in pop music.

“The Wacky World of Rapid Transit” by Del Tha Funkee Homosapien

Who hasn’t had a strained interaction with a fellow straphanger?

“Tour De France” by Kraftwerk

German synth pioneer Kraftwerk’s album-long homage to cycling’s biggest race.

“Bicycle” by St. Vincent

Slow dance alert! Annie Clark is apparently the poster girl for Transportation Alternatives. Someone steals her bike, and she walks. Someone steals her shoes, and she takes the train.

“Poor Man Transporta­tion” by Delroy “Junior” Reid

This dance hall icon eschews buses, cabs, and mini-vans for his trusty ten-speed.

“Bicycle Race” by Queen

Perhaps the most obvious choice, but we couldn’t pass on seeing a ballroom full of bike nerds banging helmeted heads to the epic time signature change a minute into the song.

“Charlie on the M.T.A.” by Kingston Trio

Folkies protest a fare increase with the story of a man getting stuck in the subway system. Sure it’s about Boston, but the sentiment is universal.

“Take the A Train” by Duke Ellington

A jazz standard about the train that drove the Harlem Renaissance. The accompanying video does not depict the actual A Train, and these guys wouldn’t last a minute amid today’s subway performance crackdowns.

“Subway Train” by the New York Dolls

The chorus’s bluesy shuffle may chug like a locomotive, but the squealing guitars and cynical lyrics are clearly subway-inspired. Be a doll and just keep on ridin’, ridin’, ridin’.

“Magic Bus” by the Who

If only everyone was so excited about buses.

“Handlebars” by Flobots

Riding a bike in such a manner is not recommended.

“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves

You’ll be walking on sunshine when you liberate yourself from your car.

“Brand New Key” by Melanie

Why walk when you can roll in a brand new set of skates?

“Just Keep Walking” by INXS

This little-known early track from the Australian band explores urban travel, stream-of-consciousness-style.

EDITOR’S PICK: “Skate or Die” theme

The theme from the 1988 Nintendo Entertainment System classic is sure to get some feet — and thumbs — moving.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Labann from Elsewhere says:
Labann (Bike&Chain: The Ultimate Guide to Bicycling Culture) just released a list of 1,750 titles of bicycling related songs. In some cases you have to read the book's appendix to understand the connection, some of which are profound though not obvious. Just "bicycle" in title is not enough because many mention bike related things, like champions or major races. Real scholarship takes research.
Feb. 18, 2016, 4:03 pm

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