By Lucy Modzelewski
Photo by Tindall Stephens
Dee Dee Moore, 61, is one of those people who you meet and form an instant connection with, feeling as though you’ve known her for years. This, she says, is her gift. “I have a way of drawing people in and gathering people,” she explains.
Dee Dee is the heart and soul of her tight-knit cycling community, the same community that has gotten her through 100 century rides, the cycling community’s term for a 100-mile ride, in 2022 alone.
Dee Dee’s impressive cycling career began at a local YMCA spin class. She formed a strong bond with one of the instructors, who saw how passionate she was about the stationary bike and insisted t hat she try an outdoor bike.
She got an outdoor bike for her 50th birthday in 2011 and was immediately hooked.
“My first ride on the outdoor bike was 43 miles,” she says laughingly. “When I put my mind to something, I really commit and do it all the way.”
Those 43 miles marked the beginning of an ambitious cycling journey. A Jackson native, Dee Dee traveled to Memphis for her third-ever bike ride, where she found the community that would kick-start her cycling passion and support her throughout her countless rides.
“I did a training team ride with the Memphis High Tailers in the summer of 2011 and knew I had found my people,” she says. “They helped me work my way up to 65 miles that July, and I completed my first century ride by October.”
Now, Dee Dee says she doesn’t really get on the bike unless it’s to go 100 miles in a single day. She wakes up at 3:15 a.m. to get in 41 miles before heading to her job as a dental hygienist, and immediately heads home after work to hop on her trainer and squeeze in her remaining 59 miles.
Dee Dee is highly motivated by the numbers. Her goal for 2022 was to complete 109 century rides so that she could officially say she’s done 300 century rides over the last three years. She hit 100,000 miles on Strava in October of 2022; over the last seven years, she’s averaged 12,500 miles per year.
Her competitive nature also fuels her century queen status. Dee Dee won the Major Taylor International Riding Challenge, a month-long cycling competition amongst the organization’s members, the last two years, and in 2022 placed third overall internationally, clocking in 3,057 miles.
But what really keeps her going is her beloved cycling community. She describes the Memphis cycling community as her best friends and says that the conversations and shared laughter keep her going through the long rides.
“I cannot do these big miles alone,” Dee Dee says emphatically. “I’m very fortunate to have a core group with some of the same goals as I do, that encourages, pushes, and sacrifices with me.”
Despite being crowned the Century Queen, Dee Dee is remarkably modest about her achievements and insists that anyone can do what she does if they put in the time. She’s passionate about bringing in new riders and encouraging beginners or people who might be struggling. She aims to be a good steward of her gifts and help create an inclusive space for all cyclists, regardless of their experience, ability, or speed.