By Annika Morschauser
GREEN BAY – Green Bay will serve as a starting point for the Biking for Babies national ride which begins on July 9 and ends on July 16.
In addition to the starting point in Green Bay, there are others starting in Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, Kansas, New York and Mississippi. All routes either end in Missouri or Virginia.
Biking for Babies is a nonprofit organization that aims to spread awareness and raise money for pregnancy resource centers while also spreading the gospel.
“We ride across the country to raise financial support and awareness for pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes and health clinics that provide for women in unplanned, at risk, difficult pregnancies and their children and their families,” Nikki Biese, executive director explained.
The National Ride is one of the main events that happen annually and consists of volunteer missionaries — including riders and support crew ages 18 to 39 — that make the journey to their ending location.
The volunteers apply and are selected for this six-month commitment as there are training sessions that require physical, spiritual and safety aspects before the event takes place.
The riders must be able to bike the entire way as their bikes are not motorized.
They are provided with a weekly training program to get them at the level of physicality required to complete the ride.
Biese said that, “The majority of the people who join us are not cyclists already… it is a learning curve in addition to training your body physically.” Within a singular group there are four to eight riders including a route leader. However, all the riders are shown the route and have their phones for navigating.
The support crew — two to four within a group — follow along in vehicles to provide the riders with whatever they might need, such as food, water, sunscreen, first aid kit or a prayer partner.
The support crew also has more of a speaking and sharing role as they are the ones who are in contact with others while they’re stopping for gas or communicating with the hosts.
A typical day during the National Ride consists of getting up at 3 a.m. to prepare for the day, hitting the road at around 5 a.m. and biking for 10-12 hours a day.
Their destination at the end of each day is usually a church or a pregnancy center as they are the ones who host the group.
After eating, the missionaries share why they’re biking with their hosts and raise money.
Locally, Biking for Babies is partnered with the Alexandria Center in Green Bay and the Vida Medical Clinic in Appleton.