Fitness For Spirit: Bike Like Dereka


Last week we officially began our “Fitness For Spirit” series

Today we highlight bike enthusiast, Dereka Hendon. 

She’s a member and Cycling Mentor for the All Women’s Triathlon Team, and a member of Major Taylor Iron Riders Cycle Club.  The Nevada native placed in triathlons and credits the cycling portion for improving her time overall.

We spoke to Dereka about her journey as a cyclist and how she uses her spirituality to get through some of her longest rides.

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When did you begin bike riding?

I began about six years ago. I rode a giant mountain bike until it couldn’t take it anymore. When I look back on that bike, it really weighed a ton.  I began by suggestion from my brother because I thought my running days were over. I am an active person and didn’t want to just sit around, so I gave it a try. I loved it!  I rode that entire summer. Now, I am on my third bike and have two commuter bikes.   To get better, I train with better cyclist and I pay it forward. I am a member of the All Women’s Triathlon Team (Cycling Mentor) and a member of Major Taylor Iron Riders Cycle Club. Although I haven’t taken on an actual race, I have placed in triathlons and know the cycling portion improved my time overall.


Describe how much you bike.

If I am training, I am on the bike three to four times a week. I will commute if I can’t ride on the weekends.

When did you realize biking would be your activity of choice for living a healthy lifestyle?

My love of cycling became apparent when I discovered when I wanted to perform better. It changed my nutrition immediately!

Describe how you feel when you’re biking?


Free! It’s one of the best parts of my week.  As for my group rides, whether with the All Women’s Triathlon Team or Major Taylor Iron Riders, I am happiest when I ride with them. Where else can you get in shape and see friends you enjoy spending time with?



What are the ways biking could put a person in tune with their deeper self and their spiritual connection?

You have nothing to think about or focus on other than yourself and turning those wheels.  The longer rides, 70 miles or more, give you ample time to clear your head and find answers. I come up with the best ideas when I ride.


What are some of the misconceptions about biking?

That [black people] don’t do that and it’s a “white sport,”  which, in fact, is what made me love it more!  When I learned the history of Major Marshall Taylor who was an international competitor, in 1899, I dispelled the myth in my own mind. To have a supportive group and like-minded folks is incomparable.



Lots of people fall off the wagon when it comes to fitness.  What are your thoughts on the idea of making your fitness regimen part of your spiritual life in order to maintain focus? 

Having faith and focus are essential to tackling big rides. Particularly if its your first one. You must have something to draw from to get over that difficult moment when you think you can’t make it any further. My spirituality has gotten me through countless times.


This week we highlight another biker for our “Fitness for Spirit” series.  Don’t miss her story!  Then check back next Wednesday to find out who our next fitness phenom is!

Abi Ishola
Abi Ishola


Abi Ishola is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Classically Beautiful, the acclaimed photo series turned multimedia platform. On any given day, you can find her tucked away in a perfectly lit Brooklyn coffee shop working for several hours. Then she dashes off to pick up her daughter from daycare. Abi is also a TV Producer, a proud FIT Alum, Nigerian-American, and a soul searcher.

  1. Abi, Thank you for featuring me in the series. Its beautifully written. There are thousands of us who ride, support one another and welcome newbies. I hope this will inspire other women to get on the bike and ride!

  2. Great article! Although Dereka neglected to mention that her enthusiasm for cycling is infectious. When she talks about cycling she brings it to life, you can actually feel the wind blowing on your face!

    As a baby triathlete (I mean real baby) she encourages me to press in, often making me truly believe I can do it! I pray that her passion for cycling will nurture others to try cycling as a new fitness alternative.

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