What and when?

NEXT WN RIDE: 11th Annual Willy Nilly: Sunday, February 24, 2019

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: 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
> On-island bike repairs: Vashon Bikes right on the main loop route in Burton, and Spider's Ski & Sports in downtown Vashon

Scroll down to view hastily-scribed blurb posts about past Willy Nilly winter rides...

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

PRIOR WN RIDE: 5th Annual Sunride Summer Solstice Hillclimb: June 23, 2018

How about a solstice-welcoming spin up to Sunrise Visitor Center at Mt. Rainier?

> Registration/fees: Nope
> "Ride your ride": The total number of Sunriders on the road that day could range from 50 to 250, with varied start times and/or start locations
> "Standard" refers to popular options...
> Standard ride start time: 7:00am (suggested wee-early start is for minimizing vehicle traffic conflict & maximizing sunrise lighting splendor)
> Standard start/finish: SR 410 & Crystal Mtn. Blvd. (some do a shorter route, parking/starting close to the road access gate near White River Campground)
> Standard route map: click here
> Standard ride profile: 40 miles up/down (20 mi climbing about 4,800', then zooming 20 mi back down to start/finish)
> Enticing post-ride hydration meetup: Naches Tavern in Greenwater
> Campout: On Friday night some of us will be snoozing at Silver Springs Campground (after dinner/beverages at the Naches Tavern)

Access/Route Details
> Road access details are subject to change per the whims of the rangers and/or maintenance personnel
> During solstice timing the road to Sunrise from the gate near the White River Campground intersection is typically closed to all public traffic during the week
> Sometimes the gate/road is opened up for hikers and bicycles (not cars) during the weekend
> However, maintenance crews may decide at any moment to close the gate to all traffic for any timeframe of their choosing
> While the standard plan A is to ride up to the gate from the start/finish listed above; if the gate is closed to bicycles, then a Plan B option is to turn around and ride to Chinook Pass, and from there down to Skookum Falls Viewpoint on hwy 410, from which we'll return to our original starting point (link to the Plan B route map).
> Plan B results in about the same total elevation gain as the standard Sunride route, and the distance is 6 miles longer

Scroll down to view hastily-scribed blurb posts about past Willy Nilly winter rides...

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

v3: 2011: Tooth-chattering grins

Winter Willy Nilly
February 27, 2011

Hardware Store refueling break
Here we are, almost a year later. Why the post delay? Was it that traumatic? Um, no. Was it that unmemorable? Certainly not. It's simply that it has taken this long to thaw my extremities enough that I may sit down and type.

How to convey the experience nearly a year down the road? I asked some participants to provide a quick quote that captures their take:

RM: "The only thing better than the opening climb from the ferry, was the concluding climb into a Bloody Mary."
GH: "Through cold wind and slush I survived without a wreck, thanks to the beers and my 20-year old Trek."
BC: "My ass was wet but my wit was dry."
SS: "I've obtained a longer crank, and I intend to use it. "
JB: "Am I the only one manly enough to venture out?" (evidently not)
JD: "The slushy ice was more enjoyable once it was in a glass, with celery salt on the rim."