Erich Wallace of Merrill, front right, is pictured with fellow route leaders for the Biking for Babies National Ride during which young adults ride hundreds of miles to meet in St. Louis in early July. Bikers partner with local pregnancy resource centers to raise money for their ministry. (Submitted photo)
In March, Erich Wallace of Merrill announced he was returning for a third year with the pro-life organization Biking for Babies. Wallace has served as both support crew and biker, and this year will be route leader for the Wisconsin route, which takes bikers from Green Bay to St. Louis.
The 2023 National Ride takes place July 9-16, which includes six days of riding 100-plus miles. Routes ending in St. Louis begin from Louisiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. A second team from Ohio will ride to Arlington, Virginia, meeting up with another team from New York, finishing with a lap at the National Mall. In 2022, 56 adult missionaries were formed, 57 pregnancy resource centers partnered with and more than $260,000 raised.
Bikers partner with local pregnancy resource centers with more than 90 percent of donations going directly to the centers, with a percentage also going to the formation of the adult missionaries. Wallace’s goal for 2023 is to raise $6,000 for the HOPE Pregnancy Resource Center in Wausau.
Wallace has shared reflections throughout his Facebook posts on what participating in this mission means for him and how he connects his training with their pro-life purpose.
In one he wrote, “Getting on a bike and riding it fast and far can be a difficult thing. There are certainly many moments where one may feel like quitting,” adding that support crew missionaries offer up cold showers, intermittent fasting and extra prayer.
“These little sacrifices are for the conversion of our own hearts, for those around us,” Wallace said, “But especially for women in crisis, who, even though they may have the option to not choose life, have a much more difficult choice about whether or not to quit.”
On another cold and rainy April morning, Wallace posted a picture showing frost on his beard. He shared, “If biking for an hour in crummy weather and the sacrifices and prayers offered up can inspire a mother in crisis to choose life, or inspire someone to donate to support Biking for Babies and pregnancy resource centers, then I’d say it’s worth it.”
In May, Wallace gathered with other route leaders for a weekend of prayer, planning and pedaling, and in June, he continued reflecting on the connection between his efforts and the outcomes he and other biking missionaries hope to bring about.
“Endurance sports are such a beautiful thing. You both love and dread them at the same time. You may not always like riding or running, but you always like having ridden or ran. I think it is much the same in choosing life.
“One may both dread it and be excited, know it will be difficult and taxing, but be assured that when they look back, there is likely nothing more rewarding.”