For the sport, see Cycle sport.

Kids Template:Use British English Kids

"Bicycle Race" is a single by the British rock band Queen. It was released on their 1978 album Jazz and written by Queen's frontman Freddie Mercury. It was released as a double A-side single together with the song "Fat Bottomed Girls". The song is notable for its video featuring a bicycle race with nude women at Wimbledon Stadium, which was edited or even banned in several countries.

Song and lyrical contentEdit

The song was written by Mercury and was inspired by watching the 18th stage of the 1978 Tour de France passing Montreux where the band were recording Jazz in the Mountain Studios.[1][2] It starts with a chorus unaccompanied by instruments. The chorus is followed by two verses connected with a bridge, both followed by a chorus. Around the middle of the song there is a solo played with numerous bicycle bells. The song has an unusual chord progression with numerous modulations, a change of metre (from 4/4 to 6/8) in the bridge, and multitracked vocal and guitar harmonies.[3]

The lyrics are topical for the time and contain social, political and pop-culture references, such as religion, Vietnam War, Watergate, drugs, fictional characters (Peter Pan, Frankenstein and Superman), and the films Jaws and Star Wars. The song also mentions actor John Wayne. The lyrics also mention the exclamatory interjection, "Hot dog!" and the idiom "Cool it, man!"

Brian May says that the song was not an autobiographical portrait of Mercury and that Mercury did not particularly enjoy bicycling, also noting that despite the lyrics Mercury was a Star Wars fan.[4]

The song references the band's song "Fat Bottomed Girls" with the lyric "fat bottomed girls, they'll be riding today". The two songs were released as a double A-sided single.


The video for the song was infamous for featuring 65 naked women, all professional models, racing at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. It was filmed by Denis de Vallance. The group rented the stadium and several dozen bikes for one day for filming the scene; however, when the renting company became aware of the way their bikes were used, they requested that the group purchase all the bicycle seats.[1][5][6] The original video uses special effects to hide the nudity.[7]


The song was released as a single and is also included in the following albums and box sets: Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, 15 Of The Best, Queen Live In Concert, Greatest Hits and The Singles Collection Volume 1.[8]

The single was mostly distributed in 1978, on 7-inch vinyl records, with "Fat Bottomed Girls" on the B-side and EMI record label. In Argentina, the titles were translated as "Carrera de Bicicletas" and "Chicas Gordas", respectively. The labels were changed to Pepita in Hungary and to Elektra in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The Polish issue had the label of Tonpress[9] and either "Spread Your Wings" or nothing on the B-side. Both 7-inch and 12-inch records were issued in the US; there the song also appeared in 1979, on the B-side of the single "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". In nearly all countries, the covers featured a backside photo of a naked woman on a racing bike, with a red bikini painted over the original photo.[1][10] A brassiere was added to the US covers.[11][12]


Chart performance and cover versionsEdit

Country Peak
Held during Charted
for (weeks)
Australia[13] 28 9
Austria[14] 21 Jan 1979 4
Belgium[14] 15 Jan 1979 5
France[15] 7 November-December 1978 11
Germany[16] 27 11–18 Dec 1978 12
Ireland[17] 10 7
New Zealand[14] 20 8
The Netherlands[18] 5 25 Nov – 2 Dec 1978 11
Norway[18] 7 9
UK[13][19] 11 25 Nov – 9 Dec 1978 11
US Billboard[13][20] 24 Jan 1979 12


File:Queen Bicycle Race2.png

The song was covered by

The song's chorus was sampled in "C'mon Let Me Ride" by Skylar Grey featuring Eminem.

Alternate artworkEdit

A bicycle race with nude women was held to promote the Jazz album, the single and the "Fat Bottomed Girls" single. This photo was included as a fold-out poster with the album Jazz. It was also included as an alternate single cover.[21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Template:Cite book. Sutcliffe counters a popular belief that Mercury was inspired by seeing the Tour through a hotel window in Nice by that the Tour did not pass through Nice that year.
  2. Template:Cite book
  3. Queen Songs – The Book: Bicycle Race. Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
  4. Kids
  5. The great rock and roll tour | Mail Online. Retrieved on 2011-02-24.
  6. Template:Cite book
  7. Queen Promo Videos – Bicycle Race Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  8. Queen Non-UK Albums Discography. Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
  9. Template:Cite book
  10. Kids
  11. BICYCLE RACE as an a-side,
  12. Kids
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Kids
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Kids
  16. Kids
  17. Kids
  18. 18.0 18.1 Kids
  19. Kids
  20. Template:Cite book
  21. Kids

External linksEdit

Template:Queen singles

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