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Cycling Songs, Professionally Reviewed

An art, it can be said, is the craft of pedal-turning. Every rotation of the cranks is itself a symphony. That said, sometimes instruments and vocal chords are added to it. With, er, varied effects.

Tour de Georgia Press Conference Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Get Out Of That Saddle, Stephen — Dermot Morgan

Ah, the lilting refrains of this ode to Ireland’s only Tour de France winner. Before Dermot Morgan joined the priesthood, he left us with this haunting ditty about Ireland’s darling of 1987. The famed hook of “Get Outta that Saddle, Stephen,” delivered in a melodious manner, sticks in the mind for some time after listening to this tune, famous in nightclubs throughout Ireland. In a French accent, showing the ahead-of-the-curve artistic genius of the songwriter, he imparts great lessons about cycling, such as his intricate knowledge of the steep pitches on the Col d’Aubisque. The line “you’re only gasping for oxygen — I’m gaspin’ for a jar” is certainly one with which members of this website can identify.

But perhaps this song contains a darker meaning. Morgan’s imploring of Roche to “get outta that saddle” may have actually had long-lasting influences on Roche’s future career. At such prompting, is it so hard to believe that Roche would have gotten out of the saddle? As we all know, such a style of riding is more physically demanding. This is a possible cause of the knee problems which plagued Roche in his 1988 season, and further into the future, though I am fairly sure it was unintentional on Morgan’s part.

Either way, this does not affect the quality of the song. It is melodious, and it only improves when the listener follows the song’s instruction to drink “pints of crème de menthe” while listening.

Score: 9

Tom Boonen Song - Dickie en de Subtielloos

Don’t you just love foreign-language art? This Flemish hymn to Tom Boonen, however truly transcends language — anyone who speaks even a smattering of cobbles will surely pick up the themes through its complicated call-and-response form. Truly, this song presents a Belgian view of the world. Question upon question is asked, but we are reassured by Dickie (or perhaps one of the Subtielloos) that the answer is Tom Boonen.

The answer is always Tom Boonen.

This song has the ability to transport the listener away from the grey areas of this changeling earth to a world where everything is simple. A world where any question can be answered by looking to the sky and saying a simple prayer to oneself, a life-affirming two words which somehow reassure that everything will be alright. Those words? Tom Boonen.

The most moving point of the song is towards the end, where the artist’s faith in his Boonen creed seems to flag, as his “Tom Boonen”s become slower, less certain. However, upon seeing the image of Tom Boonen in a bath of baked beans, it is touching to see his faith restored, as he rejoins with a certain, nay, triumphant, “Tom Boonen!”

Score: 42

Viva De Cyclocross — De Romeos

Ah, cyclocross. The smell of chain oil, the jubilant crowd and whatever entertainment they could find on short notice. While drunk, I suspect. But De Romeos are simply special. The closing line of the chorus translates to a memorable “We are not going home/Until every chain is lubricated.” Riveting stuff. (I unironically had a bit of a dance to this one, to be honest).

The atmosphere of a cyclo-cross race is captured by the chaotic, quintessentially Belgian, swinging backbeat. The oft-repeated chorus mirrors a cyclo-cross course, which as you know contains multiple laps. This, paired with the refrain that “We houden van de modder” or “we love the mud” truly characterises the real meaning of the sport.

Score: 28.5

So there you have it. Three, er, musical masterpieces. Which cycling songs have I left out? Can you figure out the scoring system? Send all answers to the Eurovision studios.