DeKALB – Bill Finucane estimated that the 14th annual Biking with Beanzie event brought more than 500 suburban bicyclists to DeKalb County on July 15.
“About 20 percent of the people who registered were from DeKalb,” said Finucane, a member of the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club of DeKalb and a volunteer at the event. About 660 bicyclists participated in the annual fundraiser, which was named after Kiwanian and bicycle enthusiast Toney “Beanzie” Xidis.
“Biking with Beanzie just had a ring to it,” Xidis said. The ride began as a way for local Kiwanians to use their passion for bike riding to raise money for community projects, primarily the Kishwaukee Bike Pathway Project, which promotes fitness by building new bike paths in DeKalb County.
Xidis said the Kishwaukee Kiwanis have put more than $200,000 toward new paths over the last 14 years. One recent path built by the group was near Katz Park on Dresser Road, which this year’s Beanzie riders rode in the final miles of the routes back to DeKalb High School.
This year’s event gave bicyclists the chance to ride routes of 25, 46, 62, 80 or 101 miles through the mostly rural areas of DeKalb County.
“We have been on the ride before and we really enjoyed it,” said Mike Muryn of Chicago after completing the ride. “It’s a nice escape from the city.”
This year’s event included a new Community Pathway Ride, two shorter routes for community members who wanted to participate at a more leisurely pace.
“When we saw that they had three- and five-mile rides we decided to sign up,” said Yolanda Richardson of DeKalb, who rode the five-mile route with her son Jonnie Schaner, 13.