What and when?


10th Annual Willy Nilly: February 25, 2018

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

Join us for a happily unorganized 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)...
> Bring your own group or join one...
> Start: Outside (south side) of Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle
> Finish: Inside of Beveridge Place Pub (we recommend post-ride hydration)
> Popular ride departure: 9:00 am from Beveridge to catch 9:30 am ferry
> Fauntleroy/Vashon ferry departure time options: 7:50 am, 8:25 am, 9:30 am, 10:20 am...
> 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 Ski & Sports in downtown Vashon

Scroll down to view hastily scribed blurb-posts about previous Willy Nilly rides

History of Willy Nilly

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. Two each his/her 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. Boom.


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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."