What and when?

Next Willy Nilly: v17 - Sunday, February 23, 2025

The Willy Nilly is an individual and free-form version of an annual season-opening bicycling spin that happens on beautifully weird Vashon Island.


Willy Nilly Basics

> Registration/fees: None (for the record: this is not a ride that is "organized" for, or by, anyone...)
> "Ride your ride": Willy Nilly riders choose their ride details...start time, route, distance, pace...lycra, wool, or denim...maybe some road, gravel, or single track (there are trails on Vashon)...
> Number of riders: People frequently ask about this...for Willy Nilly, "size doesn't matter"...basically the numbers are unknown, as riders start/finish in different locations, at different times...and ride different routes...plus weather factors year over year, etc...we've estimated hundreds some years, and dozens other years...
> Typical start: Outside (south side) of Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle
> Typical finish: Inside of Beveridge Place Pub (we believe in post-ride re-hydration)
> BPP to Fauntleroy dock: map
> One of many Vashon routes (a "standard"): map

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

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Willy Nilly Gear

> Willy Nilly t-shirts (100% of price mark-up supports fighting kids' cancer): view/purchase

Willy Nilly History

In January 2009 a handful of cycling friends (or drinking colleagues, depending on your perspective) were discussing options for a wintery 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.


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v3: 2011: Tooth-chattering grins

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."