In the latest installment of Georgia League’s “My Story”, we learn more about Derek Boyd. Derek has been an integral piece of the league since 2014, serving many roles and helping bring several others on-board as well!
I grew up in a small coastal town (Gulfport, MS) and my first experience on a bike was on a hand-me-down Schwinn single speed. Primarily, it was my transportation to and from school from 2nd grade through elementary school. My parents surprised me with a Schwinn Apple Crate on my 10th birthday and hence began my ramp jumping debut. Surprisingly I survived with all parts intact and that bike became my freedom machine. The longest ride I’d ever done was on that bike and 20 miles on 24 inch wheels was quite a feat.
In my early teens I caught a glimpse of the Tour de France on the Wide World of Sports and immediately wanted a “10 Speed English Racing Bike”. After a summer of cutting grass and an upcoming birthday I got a used Raleigh drop bar English racer. I rode everywhere and mostly solo as none of my other friends couldn’t see past team ball sports. The ones who did ride couldn’t keep my pace mainly due to equipment. I moved to Huntsville, AL when I was 14 and fortunately my neighbors did long distance rides and I fit right in. I rode through high school as well as played tennis, rock climbed and played baseball frequently.
I came to Georgia to continue my education and eventually married, had kids and embarked on my career in experiential outdoor therapy for at risk youth. I reconnected with cycling through mountain biking in the early 90’s due to its impact on building character and positive self esteem in the adolescents in my care. I also started racing mountain bikes with my son in the mid 90’s and one of my competitors was a great guy by the name of Jerry Griffin- whom brought his son Kenny to the races too.
Fast forward to 2014, I was invited on board to help coach Cherokee HS in its first year. I immediately fell in love with the league’s family atmosphere and structure. In my 2nd year I was invited and accepted a Coach Supporter role and as most of us wear several hats I also accepted the role of Chief Course Marshall.
Being a part of this league family has been one of the best experiences of my life and I am forever grateful for the opportunity. I can’t wait for 2020 to start! My wife and now 7 kids are extremely supportive with my league work as they know first hand the positive benefits for the students we serve but also the positive impact it has given me physically and most importantly mentally.
In my line of work I see daily the negative effects of inactivity and the failure of building strong characters in our youth. The league has made a life-changing impact to thousands including our staff, students and parents due to its adherence to all our core principles: Building Strong Mind, Body and Character One Pedal Stroke at a Time.