Biking for Babies
FOCUS Missionary Rides from New Orleans to Chicago on a Mother of a Mission
What would make a group of 10 young adults want to go on a 1,150 mile bike ride? Call it a mission on wheels.
From May 21 – 29, the group of 10 young men and women will bike from New Orleans to Chicago on this year’s Biking for Babies ride, to raise money for women in crisis pregnancies. This is the fourth year for the ride, founded by FOCUS Missionary, Jimmy Becker (25), and Mike Schaefer (23), who became fast friends while students at the University of Illinois.
The ride is more than a fund raiser. The bikers will stay with host parishes and families along the way, while giving talks on the dignity of life and the terrible losses from abortion.
“The year we were born, over 1.5 million babies were killed by abortion in just the United States alone. How many of those could have been our classmates? Our teammates? Our friends?” said Becker. “We’re riding for the 1.5 million that aren’t here to ride with us.”
The original Biking for Babies ride was a 600 mile ride from Carbondale, IL to Chicago, over their spring break, which raised over $13,000. Becker and Schaefer have increased their fundraising each year and hope to reach a goal of $40,000 in this year’s ride. Beneficiaries of this endeavor include organizations in six different states.
We want everyone to have the opportunity to experience the beauty of life as we have,” said Schaefer. “And with the ride, we are doing our best to promote the protection of life from the moment of conception to a natural death.”
Bike Ride from New Orleans to Chicago…
Becker, originally from Des Moines, IA, now works as a missionary with FOCUS, Fellowship of Catholic University Students at the University of Texas in Austin. Schaefer originally from Freeburg, IL, currently works as the Associate Director at the Newman Center at Bradley University in Peoria. The rest of the team includes a mix of students, seminarians and professionals from Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Virginia, and Wisconsin. (Read the profiles of all 10 riders at www.BikingForBabies.com.)
The team will ride between 90 and 190 miles each day, beginning in New Orleans and making stops in Columbia, Jackson, and Greenwood, MS; Memphis, TN; Cape Girardeau, MO; Freeburg and Champaign, IL and concluding in Chicago. The group will prepare for the ride by cycling long distances, running and weight training. Many of the riders are competitive athletes. Becker, Stacy Hague of Chicago, and Jeremy Winter of Mobile, AL are all triathletes. Hague is also on the Cross Country Team at University of Illinois. Schaefer runs marathons and was able to convince fellow teammate Taylor Caputo, of Streator, IL into running a half marathon this past fall for conditioning for Biking for Babies.
Not all this year’s bikers are experienced endurance athletes. Stephen Barany, 22, of South Bend, IN, who drove the support vehicle on last year’s Biking for Babies from Covington, LA to Champaign, IL, humbly admits on the group’s website, “despite my unimpressively average athleticism and fears of failure, I have decided to follow in the pedal strokes of my close friend Mike.”
Videos, more info about the receiving charities, the riders, and how to donate, can be found via the ride’s website: www.BikingForBabies.com and on Facebook: “Biking For Babies.”