What and when?

NEXT: 12th Annual Willy Nilly: February 23, 2020

Same day, different island: If you like the idea of dragging your winter insulation-padded arse out for a ritualistic early-season bike ride, and prefer to dodge herds, registration, fees, and rules, then...

Here's an option for riding your own version of a season-opening spin on Vashon Island, WA

> Registration/fees: None
> "Ride your ride": Start time is just a guide, select your route/distance, your pace, your style...road cyclists, gravellistas, mountain bikers (there are trails on Vashon)...
> Groupiness: Bring your own crew or join one on ride day...
> Start: Outside (south side) of Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle
> Finish: Inside of Beveridge Place Pub (we recommend post-ride hydration)
> Popular start time at BPP: 9:00a (for 9:30a ferry departure)
> Some Fauntleroy/Vashon ferry departure time options (pending 2020 ferry schedule): 7:50a, 8:50a, 9:30a, 10:05a
> Beveridge to Fauntleroy dock: map
> One of many Vashon routes (a "standard"): map
> Food & hot/cold beverages: Provisions can be found during the ride on Vashon at any of our favorite stops along the "standard" loop route: Burton Coffee Stand, Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe, Cafe Luna, The Hardware Store, or the Red Bicycle

Scroll down to view hastily-scribed blurb posts about past Willy Nillys...

Click here to sign up for reminders about upcoming Willy Nilly rides

Willy Nilly Gear

100% of sales "profit" goes to supporting children's cancer research via the Children's Cancer Research Fund

> Willy Nilly t-shirts (M/W): view/purchase
> Willy Nilly hoodies (unisex): view/purchase

Willy Nilly History

In January 2009 a handful of cycling friends (or drinking colleaguess, depending on your perspective) were discussing options for a wintery group road bike ride to kick off a new season. None of us were game for the iconic Chilly Hilly on Bainbridge Island. While the Chilly Hilly does an amazing job of inspiring thousands of riders to register and ride the beautiful designated route, this kind of ride just wasn't our cup of tea. To each their own, right? We decided to ride a more personalized and free-form ride on the same day as the Chilly Hilly, in solidarity with the herd to the north of us, and thus the present-day Willy Nilly was born.

The name "Willy Nilly" was originally a nickname for a one-time ride that happened on Vashon Island in February, 1993 following the first inauguration of President William "Willy" Clinton. During the 2009 discussion referenced above, someone (let's call him "Brad") related the story of participating in the 1993 ride. We loved the name. We loved riding on Vashon. Willy Nilly rhyming with Chilly Hilly seemed an obvious sign of encouragement. Shazam.

Click here to sign up for reminders about upcoming Willy Nilly rides

v2: 2010: "Start time" is just a guide...

Winter Willy Nilly
February 26, 2010

In the true spirit of Willy Nilly (not to be confused with the Pell-Mell, the
Chilly Willy, or the dreaded Wet Willy) it turned out that two parallel rides
occurred this year:

Ferry wave 1: One minor hitch at the start...one of us (ahem), with the previous night's source of debauchery still coursing through his veins, had to sprint home for forgotten bike shoes and thus barely made the ferry by driving aboard. A group of 7 riders (Brad C, Manny C, Rob M, Greg H, Phil W, Erik G and John D) navigated the classic Vashon loop, including some cross-training at the outdoor exercise bike installation (above). During the return stretch we decided to stop for some bloody Marys/Caesars, bacon (for those of the group who are carnivores) and red potatoes at The Hardware Store in the village of Vashon. From there some decided to high-tail it to the dock (some of us chose not to notice), and a technically complexified flat repair caused three of the riders to miss the targeted departing ferry. Nevertheless, everyone arrived at the Beveridge for beer, barleywine, and Zeeks pizza in time to catch an epic US/Canada Olympic hockey game...at least one Canuck will never have to buy his own drinks, eh?

Ferry wave 2: A sweeper team of 3 riders (Dave C, David E and Mark W) stormed the Vashon ferry beachhead and surely wreaked their own brand of havoc upon the sleepy, weird island enclave.

Next year: It's time we diversify!

Honorable mentions: John J couldn't make the ride, but drove across town to show team support at game time. Scott S induced his understanding wife and infant daughter to make a similar trek and appearance at the Beveridge. And Kris S, well, we simply honor Kris because we know that he is with us in spirit ("sipping coffee" in Amsterdam), as a phantom sag-wagon far off the back of the last Willy Nilly rider, making us feel at once superior and guilty. We love you, Iceboy.