"Who" Writing - Cyclist

Today is the final day of “who” writing, and the “who” for today is a cyclist. Your job is to paint a cycling based description as vividly as you can staying close to your seven senses. This might be a good opportunity to tap into the kinaesthetic sense, how it feels to move through the world around us. Spend no longer than 10 minutes on this and see where your senses take you!

My burning thighs hand over command as gravity takes the reins. The cyclical clinking of the wheel is a metronome increasing in tempo, the tyres singing an increasing pitch in their excitement. I huddle down to slip through this wall of chilled air whilst my blistered fingers clutch the breaks, burning in their responsibility. The perilous tarmac below whistles past, my body so delicately balanced in the harmony of man and machine.

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Increasing her speed, the still air whips against her face causing exhausted tears to stream from overly sensitive eyes. He cheeks are carnations. The helmet she should have adjusted months ago bobbles around as if a princess had tried on her father’s crown. Every heartbeat jolts her entire body from within, the pressure is building. Grass is no longer individual blades but a nondescript puddle of brown and green. Her lungs are raw and her throat has pea gravel glued to its side that refuses to slide down the esophagus. On her final push, the chain jumps the cassette and whips against her calf. Her inertia carries her wobbling forward, feet peddling air as they lost connection with the pedals. Sliding on the pavement, her yoga pants tear as jagged black tears into her skin. Radial heads fracture in her arm and burn with anticipation of a full stop. All this, and she is still five pounds away from her goal. Maybe eating disorders or liposuction would be a better option to worship at the alter of her Instagram master.


I like the way you painted going downhill to give your muscles a break. The metronome is a cool image, and makes me think of being a kid and putting a playing card into the spokes, I immediately heard that when I read through this. Really good job.

Her eyelids mimicked the waning horizon, straining against the orange light. Salt rained from her brows and caressed the corners of her cheeks. The deadened air gave way to the whirring of her pedals and her steady, methodical breath. She kept time with the ticking in her chest as it counted moments of invincibility. Maybe she would make it this time, to the portal at the end of the horizon. If she made it before the light went out, maybe she could keep gliding into infinity.

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The sun rays finally greet my face on hour 3. Riding in black abyss can be a lonesome endeavour. Rising from the light the trees take my focus, giving some relief from the symphony of laboured breathing and fatigued heartbeat that has been my soundtrack of the morning. The sound of the road like a whitewater stream can only be trumped by my pervasive self doubt. Perfection eludes me like a great vanishing act. My tour de france is not of bicycle and man, but of man and mind.

Hey guys I’m super new to this so constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated!!!

Focusing on showing not telling, maybe instead of saying “riding in the black abyss can be a lonesome endeavor” you could use something more sensory to convey lonesome endeavor. Like “only my racing heart keeps me company” or some other sensory imagery. I like the breathing and heartbeat being a soundtrack and the road a whitewater stream. Nice job!


Thanks for the feed back! I find myself trying to tell a short story than using senses to push it along.

Congratulations on capturing that kinaesthetic sense! I can really feel the jolt of the chain coming off and the wobbling forward. You write with good control the sense of her being completely out of control!

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You have really nicely put us into her shoes, feeling her heartbeat, her breath and the salt on her cheeks. Well done!

Hi there Hugh :wave:

And welcome to the writing community! As you mentioned in your comment our natural inclination is to tell a story, but for these exercises we are not concerned with narrative at all, just the raw sensory description. In the pyramid of songwriting, this is the foundation, and all the other elements of plot and structure and meter and rhyme are built on top of strong sensory words.

@maddragon has given great feedback on where you could show rather than tell - and I look forward to reading more in the coming days! :slight_smile:

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Great starting sentence. Eyelids mimicking the horizon is a great image. The ticking in the chest is also something a listener can identify with. Using your internal heartbeat to keep time is an available feeling that everyone connects with.

It is great the way you painted a hilly terrain. The trees rising from the light is a great way to show that the landscape was hidden behind a hill. The sound of the road comparing to flowing water is also a really neat use of imagery.

Electricity pulsed through me as I approached the top of the hill. I could see miles into the distance, each blue mountain fading into the next with a beautiful gradient. The air smelled like pine and I could feel my shoulders being toasted by the sun. I felt a burning sensation as I tightly gripped the ribbed rubber handles. I breathed in deeply, feeling light, confident and alive…Digging my feet into the dirt and leaning back, I pushed off. The wind felt cool and liberating on my face…Until I heard the crunching
of the gravel getting louder and louder… With every high pitched “pop” and “ping” my heart beat faster… I didn’t know which way was up anymore… the next thing I remember is a piercing scream, the taste of blood, and seeing gravel embedded in my shaking palms.

Oh wow… yes. I am telling stories! I don’t know how not too! I will work on this :slight_smile:

The first sentence is excellent because of the entendre. Electricity pulsing like excitement, but also the heartbeat accelerating with excitement and activity pumping like electricity keeping you going. The contrast of clear visibility and mountains fading with gradient is really nice as well. Pine is a great smell, so common and strong, very relatable. Feeling your shoulders getting sunburned is also real and introduces an idea of pain into an otherwise beautiful setting. The crunching along with the onomatopoeia is also a nice contrast. And finishing with a wreck to have that huge contrast. The initial sunburn pain growing to objects embedded in your skin. I think this is really well written.

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thank you for the feedback!

I think this is a strong piece of sensory work - and I really like the contrast between the serene opening and the shock of the crash. Gripping the rubber handles is very relatable, as is the gravel in the hands - a really engaging piece well done!

It clicks and I know I’m safe. My feet locked in, squeezed into my boot, as cars whiz past at a dizzying speed. My legs churn, my muscles waking, on the verge of an early cramp that ends the ride, smoothing past the stickiness of the chain and my legs. The wind whips my face, as my head turns down, a stinging sensation in my nose from the saltwater nearby. I grip the rubber on the handlebars and my heartbeat and legs begin to move at the same pace.

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