Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cyclist Gears Up for 600-Mile Ride in Support of Pregnancy Resource Centers

Max Cavada, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg, will raise awareness and funds for pregnancy resources with the “Biking for Babies” national ride July 8-13.
Max Cavada, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg, will raise awareness and funds for pregnancy resources with the “Biking for Babies” national ride July 8-13.

Cyclist Max Cavada is putting a new spin on the term “pro-life movement.”

The college student and member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg is putting his pedals to the pavement as part of the nationwide “Biking for Babies” campaign. From July 8-15, Cavada will be one of 91 riders trekking 600 miles in support of pregnancy resource centers.

“The goal of this ride is to raise money and awareness for centers across the country, while also uniting our sufferings during training and the national ride with women experiencing unexpected pregnancies,” Cavada told The Catholic Witness.

Biking for Babies is a non-profit Catholic mission that unites cycling with the formation of young adults to proclaim the dignity of human life. Since 2009, more than 200 riders have pedaled 31,000 miles to raise $1.61 million for 127 pregnancy resource centers.

On July 8, nine teams of riders will set out on separate 600-mile journeys in various parts of the country. Cavada is on a team that will begin in Columbus, Ohio, and finish in Arlington, Virginia, covering 100 miles each day and witnessing to the sanctity of human life along the way.

As with any undertaking of this magnitude, training is essential, both physically and spiritually.

To prepare for the physical demands, riders completed a 16-week training course, ramping up to cover 200 miles a week. For Cavada, who took up road biking this winter after several years as an avid mountain-biker, it was a challenging task.

“I’ve been mindful of sacrifice and offering challenges up to God during the training period,” Cavada said. “One of the biggest things is, when I’m riding and having a hard day, I start to think about how my efforts in pushing harder might give someone else the strength to say yes to life. I want to give my sacrifices to God so that He can give my strength to someone else. I don’t personally know the mothers and babies I’ll be helping, but I’m definitely working my hardest to support and pray for them.”

Max Cavada will bike 600 miles July 8-13 in support of pregnancy resources via the “Biking for Babies” campaign.
Max Cavada will bike 600 miles July 8-13 in support of pregnancy resources via the “Biking for Babies” campaign.

Monthly videochats for prayer, formation and logistical information have also been on the docket. “Spiritually, we’ve focused on prayer and the sacrifice of being on the bike for long periods of time,” Cavada said. “There were times I had to ride in high winds, rain or cold temperatures during training. I had a day that I rode three hours in the rain. But we’re offering up that sacrifice, praying for women in unplanned pregnancies and moms who need support.”

Throughout their journey, the riders will be accompanied by a support team vehicle and have overnight accommodations at parishes and with host families. Prayer and reflection will also be part of each day, as the cyclists ride into various towns and speak with people they encounter.

“Just the sight of us riding in as a group and wearing our yellow jerseys will attract people’s attention to ask what we’re riding for,” Cavada said. “It’s about getting out there, being seen and telling people the reason we’re doing it.”

This year’s national ride is the first for Cavada, who has been partnered with the Women’s Care Center of Columbus. Connecting with an individual pregnancy resource center to learn about what they offer and who they support has given significant meaning for his venture.

A mechanical engineering major at Penn State, he is eager to hit the road, and said the experience has been part of a life-changing path that God laid out for him.

“I joined the Newman Catholic Student Organization at Penn State this year, and it was the best decision I’ve made in my life, committing myself more fully to the faith,” he said.

It led Cavada to attend the SEEK 2024 conference put on by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in January, where he ultimately connected with representatives of Biking for Babies.

“There were many missionary groups at SEEK, and I was considering if I should do some missionary work at some point. I think it’s easy to get into a mindset that being a missionary and evangelizing means going to another country or going to the poorest parts of the world. When I signed up for this ride, I wasn’t considering it as being missionary work, but it is. Looking back, I know it is exactly what I was feeling called to do in terms of sharing the Good News and making a difference by doing God’s will.”

“I’ve come to learn that being a missionary is being who you are as a disciple and sharing His message wherever you are,” he said. “Biking for Babies is allowing me to actively do that.”

Learn more about Biking for Babies at www.bikingforbabies.com, and Cavada’s fundraiser at this link.

(Photos courtesy of Max Cavada.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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