DeKALB – Toney “Beanzie” Xidis hopes his childhood nickname reminds people to let their inner child run loose every once in a while.
“Beanzie represents the kid in all of us,” Xidis said. “It’s important to be active and find ways to have fun.”
DeKalb’s Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club presented the 16th annual Biking with Beanzie event Sunday. The event raised funds for Kishwaukee Bike Pathway Projects and other projects within DeKalb County. About 700 riders were registered for the event, with others signing up the day of the ride. Xidis said the first event 16 years ago had about 100 riders and has grown consistently since then.
Riders left at various times throughout the day to tackle 25-, 46-, or up to 101-mile routes. Riders could leave at their leisure, as long as they were finished by 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Shorter family routes also were available.
Xidis said before the annual ride began almost two decades ago, he and friends from the Kiwanis Club were discussing childhood nicknames. Xidis wasn’t willing to share his nickname with friends, and it took almost three months for friends to get it out of him.
“I was an active kid, you know, back then they’d say ants in the pants,” Xidis said. “I was a jumping bean. I knew they’d give me grief about it.”
When friends finally found out, to make him pay for keeping the name to himself, they decided to name the annual ride after Beanzie.
“The moral of the story is, people should just fess up in the beginning,” Xidis said.
Since then, the idea of Beanzie has been used to promote being active and not being afraid to let out one’s inner child.
“This event is all about being friendly and supporting the community,” Xidis said. “The money goes right back into the community.”
However, when the Kiwanis Club first considered holding the event 16 years ago, many members of the club were dubious about the effect it would have.
“Most members of the club are not bikers,” Xidis said. “They said, ‘You mean, people are gonna pay to ride their bike?’ But that first year we were able to make a little money and it’s been better ever since.”
Jayne Crosby, of DeKalb, participated in the ride for the first time Sunday.
“I enjoy riding,” Crosby said. “It’s kind of a nice bonus that the money is going to a good place.”