600 miles over six days – Springfield resident to hit roads of America as he rides his bike for babies

By ANDREW HANSEN 
Editor 

In July in the Midwest, heat indexes can regularly soar into the high 90s to 100 degrees range. At this time of year, most are staying cool inside in the air-conditioning or taking a dip in a pool. If one wants to exercise, it’s best to do it early in the morning as that is the coolest time of day. For Vince Moore of Springfield, he won’t be doing any of that. Instead, he will be hitting the roads of the Midwest on his bicycle, riding about 100 miles each day for six days, participating for the third time in Biking for Babies.

Biking for Babies is where dozens of life-minded people embark on bike rides throughout the country. The goal of these missionaries is to raise money for pregnancy centers around the country, including our diocese, and be a public witness to life. 

From July 8-13, nine teams of missionaries will make sure their tires are inflated, the chain is oiled up, and their bike is in tip-top riding shape. There are six Midwestern routes and three East Coast routes. The East Coast routes ride to Arlington, Va. The Midwestern routes end outside St. Louis, in the suburb of Manchester, Mo. For Moore, who is a parishioner at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Springfield, his route this year starts in Lincoln, Neb. He is riding for Two Hearts, a pregnancy resource center located next door to Planned Parenthood in Springfield. 

Catholic Times Editor Andrew Hansen interviewed Moore about what his Biking for Babies experience has been like and why he is doing it again. 

This is your third time biking 600 miles in six days for Biking for Babies. Describe your experience.

For the 2023 national ride, I was route leader of the Michigan Route. Overall, it could be characterized like this: deep joy in building and bonding with my team, hard work in training and traveling to train with each of my riders, a feeling of being on pilgrimage during the national ride, and the joy of offering my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings throughout training and the national ride for women in unplanned pregnancies.

Specifically, it was a great privilege to set the overall goal for the 2023 Michigan Route: to grow closer to our Lord Jesus through sacrifice and service. The Michigan route was a new route in 2023, so that made us “pioneers.”  The whole team embraced the missionary vocation while on the national ride, especially by being outgoing and generously engaging with hosts and people of goodwill at our evening events. I love preparation, working hard, and being silly. The members of the 2023 Michigan Route worked really hard in training, and they brought “the joy.”

We also contended with adversity, and the needling of the evil spirit. The team and I leaned heavily on the prayer to St. Michael and prayers to Our Lady when we encountered adversity. For example, on day three, outside of Lafayette, Ind., we had a minor collision between cyclists. Then a bridge was out which we needed to cross the Wabash River. At that point, I called it a day for the team. As we hopped in the support crew vehicle to make it on time for our evening event, we prayed the prayers mentioned above, and reflected on Elijah’s prayer when he flees Jezebel into the desert.

The members of my team last year cannot be lauded enough, in my opinion. These missionaries trained hard, rode hard, and prayed hard. We had a distinct team culture which was prayerful, joyful, and guileless. Even this year, I’m proud of the growth of those team members, for instance, three of the riders from 2023 are team leaders in 2024. It is God’s grace, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to co-labor with Him.

Why did you decide to bike again this year?

I returned in 2024 because of experiences like those mentioned above. I have seen, heard, and felt God acting directly in my life in other-than-ordinary ways. I also came back because I deeply believe that no human being can make a judgment on the sufficiency or quality of someone else’s life. 

The mission of Biking for Babies is forming young adults in the Gospel of Life, raising awareness of the work of pregnancy resource centers, and raising funds to support those centers.

This mission allows me to serve God in some small way. I believe that one can feel joy in the midst of pain or sacrifice. Our Lord Jesus during His passion is the prime and greatest example of that. Biking for Babies allows me to join my life and service with the Lord’s passion.

How have you been training for this year’s ride?

In May, I visited and trained with my teammates in Denver, Colo. Each year, I travel to my rider missionaries during May and June in order to train with them and inculcate in them the team culture which ideally is prayerful, hard-working, and joyful. My goal is to set the tone with them that is ultimately one of sacrifice.  We are riding not for our own glory, but to fulfill the two greatest Commandments: loving God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

I work remotely as an accountant in the banking industry, so my work allows me the flexibility to work from Denver and ride with my Denver riders. I also traveled in June to David City, Neb., and Green Bay, Wis., for the same reason. When I’m home, I typically ride shorter rides four times a week. I ride shorter distances on weekday mornings and do my longer rides on Saturdays.

Have you experienced anything unique, scary, or spiritual that still stays with you today? 

One of the riders in 2023 was having brake problems on his bicycle the morning of day one in Michigan. He ended up loosening his brakes, and we were glad he could join us 10 miles into that first day. Fast forward to the sixth day. The Michigan team just had lunch outside Edwardsville.   We’re passing Granite City, the home of Metro East abortion clinic. At a spot where a bike trail crosses IL-162, I get rear-ended at a low speed by the rider who loosened his brakes. I’m physically fine, but my bicycle isn’t rideable. We stop and make sure everyone is OK, but my day of bicycling is done. I get into the support crew van.  The riders continue and cross the McKinley Bridge. All this time I’m praying Memorares continuously. The support crew found a bike shop and my front wheel was fixed. I rejoined the riders south of downtown St. Louis. As we navigate through the city, the Holy Spirit gave me an inspirational thought, “Gee, it sure is taking (rider who rear-ended me) a long time to stop at these downhill stop lights. That’s weird?” So, I think about the route ahead. West of Kirkwood, Mo., our route takes us into the Meramec River Valley on a long downhill, and if that rider tries to ride down that hill, he’ll be hurt or worse. So, I explain what the Holy Spirit inspired in my mind to that rider. He agrees, and the support crew took him to get his brakes fixed.

The remaining riders and I descended the steep hill, hitting speeds of 40 m.p.h. Sure enough, as we sped down the hill, in broad daylight at 1 p.m. on a Saturday in July, a female deer is standing in the ditch alongside the road. As we slowed and passed the deer, she lightly hopped into the forest. But, in an alternate set of circumstances, and with that rider in the group, the deer could have jumped out in front of us, leading to collision and injury or much worse.

The scales lifted from my eyes, and I saw God acting directlyin my life. I felt like one might feel when they realize a plot twist in a movie, except it was real life, and the twist was this: God permitted me to be rear-ended in order for greater good to be fulfilled — that being that rider’s safety.

How you can support Biking for Babies and pregnancy centers in our diocese/around the country

  • Give online at bikingforbabies.com. You can choose to support a missionary’s fundraising goal, like Vince Moore, or give to the Biking for Babies fund;
  • Attend dinners and missionaries’ testimonies in our diocese. There are three you can attend: 
  1. Thursday, July 11: The Ohio Team will be in Charleston at the 4:30 p.m. Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church and then have a potluck dinner and missionary testimonies at 5:15 p.m.;
  2. Friday, July 12: The Wisconsin and Ohio teams will be in Springfield at the 5:15 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, followed by a dinner in the school hall (R.S.V.P. by calling the Cathedral office at (217) 522-3342), and missionary testimonies to follow around 6:45 p.m. (no R.S.V.P. required); 
  3. Friday, July 12: The Michigan team will be at St. Louis Parish in Nokomis at the 5 p.m. Mass.
  • Pray for mothers, unborn children, and a culture of life!