Pedaling pro-life: Cyclists to ride New Orleans to Chicago

Photo Caption: “Biking for Babies” co-founders Michael Schaefer and Jimmy Becker are among 10 riders who hope to raise $40,000 — and pro-life awareness — during the 1,100- mile ride May 21-29.

Ten young men and women, including a campus minister at St. Joseph’s Newman Center at Bradley University in Peoria, will ride bicycles from New Orleans to Chicago from May 21-29 to raise money for women in crisis pregnancies and awareness of the dignity of human life.

Participants in the fourth annual “Biking for Babies” have set a goal of $40,000 for this year’s ride to benefit several pro-life groups.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to experience the beauty of life as we have,” said Michael Schaefer, 23, who co-founded the ride with Jimmy Becker while they were students at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Schaefer is now associate director at the Newman Center at Bradley. Becker, meanwhile, works as a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) at the University of Texas in Austin.

“With the ride, we are doing our best to promote the protection of life from the moment of conception to a natural death,” said Schaefer. To that end, bikers stay with host parishes and families along the 1,100-mile route, giving talks on the dignity of life and the tragedy of abortion.

Among the cycling team are Streator native Taylor Caputo, now a FOCUS missionary at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and Stacy Hague, a University of Illinois student who competes in track and cross country.

On the support crew, meanwhile, is Danny McShane of Holy Family Parish, Lincoln, who hopes to begin studies as a seminarian for the Diocese of Peoria this fall.

The team will ride between 90 and 190 miles each day, beginning in New Orleans and making stops in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri. In Illinois, the bikers are scheduled to stop in Freeburg and Champaign before ending their trip in Chicago. The Champaign stop is expected to be on May 27 at about 6 p.m. and include a visit at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center.

Pledges are welcomed online at Biking for Babies. The website features videos from past rides, information about the many receiving charities (including the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in Champaign), and biographies of the riders.

Checks made out to “Biking for Babies” may also be mailed to Biking for Babies, 1116 West College Ave., Peoria, IL 61606-1728.

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