UI students continue annual ‘Biking for Babies’ trip to raise money for unborn children

Early Monday morning, while many students on summer break were sleeping, five students began their 866-mile biking trip to raise money for unborn children.

The event dubbed “Biking for Babies,” has the bikers raising money for anti-abortion organizations “supporting the dignity of mother and the unborn child,” according to the Biking for Babies website.

Charity recipients include the Women’s Care Center, Champaign Pregnancy Resource Center and Students for Life of Illinois.

The bikers started their trip in Covington, La., and are expected to ride into Champaign in about a week.

The event has been successful in the past years, with the group raising about $15,000 each year.

This year marks the third “Biking for Babies” trip, with the riders hoping to raise another $15,000 for the cause.

The event started with two people, a passion for biking and a desire to help others.

Mike Schaefer, recent University graduate and one of the event’s founders, said he and co-founder Jimmy Becker wanted to take a bike trip that would benefit the community.

“Three years ago, I was on the phone with Jimmy and talked about our plan for the bike trip,” Schaefer said. “We decided to ride a bike for five days, riding 500 miles, and we wanted to make this bike trip worthy to do.”

Schaefer added that the group rode 600 miles on its first biking trip.

Because the group members received considerable amounts of donations, they decided to make the trip an annual event.

“Through this event, I just hope that we can feel … that people will consider pro-life in a more serious way,” Schaefer said.

Rider Eric Johannigmeier, a recent University graduate, talked about the anti-abortion message driving this annual event.

“‘Biking for Babies’ is about telling the community that an unborn child has the right to be born,” Johannigmeier said. “We want this event to provide a voice to the baby and stand up for the unborn babies.”

Johannigmeier also said this year’s event would have three charities instead of two because the trip is long and there is a lot of time for people to donate.

Becker, also a University graduate, talked about a feeling of fulfillment after donating money to the charities in the past years.

“The first year of the event, we had the opportunity to visit the Women’s Care Center,” Becker said. “There was a little infant who was adopted, and her teenage mother was considering an abortion.

So we had the chance to hold this infant whose life was saved, and it was a very touching experience.”