SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC HERALD
Every year since 2009 young adults from across the United States spend seven days in the heat of summer biking more than 2,500 miles to uphold St. John Paul II’s admonition of “Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life.”
The riders of Biking For Babies start in either Green Bay; Columbus, Ohio; Tylertown, Mississippi; or Denver, all headed toward their end goal of St. Louis. Their path forms the Corpus of Christ from His Holy Wounds to His Sacred Heart, the intense physical exertion of so many miles, they offer as Redemptive Suffering.
On July 13, the Biking For Babies riders, called missionaries, set out from their respective cities with the aim to renew a culture of life with every mile they travel. Most are between 18 and 39 years old, and they are college students and young professionals. In a time when the world views young people as lazy and uncaring, they hope to show the truth that they’re willing to sacrifice for the sake of others to promote life.
Sporting bright yellow jerseys, followed by a support van covered with a banner proclaiming the importance of life, the missionaries use what they learned in their formation to talk with anyone they meet in a non-confrontational way about the importance of the Pro-Life movement.
Nicole Biese the executive director of Biking For Babies, got involved after meeting one of the founders in college and for the first time confronting the lie she’d been taught growing up, that to be pro-woman, you have to be pro-choice.
“That was my foundation,” she said. “But, I learned through these pregnancy resource centers that to be pro-woman means to give her all of her options and say ‘You can do this. Yes it’s unexpected, but it happened and that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be successful. That means we are going to help you rise to the challenge.’”
In college, she saw for the first time up close the impact pregnancy resource centers have on the women who need them. From maternity home stays to helping pay for college and daycare, she saw they are places where women can go and be unconditionally loved and supported. Her conviction grew with every story she heard and every life she saw changed. She saw the only way to be pro-woman is to be Pro-Life, so she took a stand and decided to do something about it.
Biese rides along with one of the support vans and has seen first-hand the impact of thoughtful conversations that often happen at gas stations and rest stops when passersby stop to ask questions and sometimes voice their disagreement.
“Although not everyone is Pro-Life, they can get behind a group of young people coming together to help lift up people they will likely never meet,” she said. “That helps; it’s a small step, but it’s a step.”
This year, their desired route is a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 35 missionaries have spent months training for what will now be a virtual ride. They will spend the same number of days and miles within the borders of Wisconsin checking in virtually on their Facebook page, Biking For Babies. Along with their formation and training, each missionary raises money for a specific pregnancy resource center and brings them a check upon completion of the ride. Since 2009, the Biking For Babies missionaries have raised more than $700,000 for centers around the country and heard countless stories of the victories that money has made possible.
“I think the most important thing to remember,” Biese said. “Is that a woman doesn’t walk into an abortion clinic because she’s angry; she walks in because she’s afraid.”
The Biking For Babies team rides to let that scared woman know she is loved and supported. They want every woman to know that no matter what choice she makes, these centers are there, doors open, to support her, to help her heal and help her reach her fullest potential.
To donate, visit bikingforbabies.com/give, where 100 percent of every donation goes directly to pregnancy resource centers.