What and when?

NEXT: 13th Annual Willy Nilly: Sunday, February 28, 2021 (tentative date)

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...

The Willy Nilly is an option for riding your own version of a season-opening spin on Vashon Island, WA

> NOTE: details below are yet to be updated for 2021
> 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 option: Outside (south side) of Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle
> Finish option: Inside of Beveridge Place Pub (we recommend post-ride hydration)
> Popular start time at BPP: 9:00 am (for 9:25 am ferry departure)
> Some Fauntleroy/Vashon ferry departure time options (verify via current WA State Ferries schedule): 7:50 am, 8:15 am, 9:25 am, 9:55 am, 10:20 am, 11:15 am, 11:35 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, The Hardware Store, Cafe Luna, or the Wild Mermaid next to the north-end Vashon ferry dock

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

> Willy Nilly socks (price is at our cost): view/purchase
> Willy Nilly t-shirts (100% of price mark-up goes to kids' cancer): view/purchase
> Willy Nilly hoodies (100% of price mark-up goes to 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 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

v4: 2012: Just like the USPS...no, the real one without lycra shorts or blood doping...

Winter Willy Nilly
February 26, 2012

Neither snow nor rain nor...ferry schedule mix-ups...

A dry, balmy day without unexpected glitches would not be a Willy Nilly day.

We rode our ride. Experienced new versions of chaos. With a mix of sun, rain, sleet and snow we tasted just the right amount of weather-induced suffering to feel intrepid. Some of us suffered from deciding to try to hang on to the wheels of a couple of our favorite brewers. And we enjoyed the relative peace and quiet of Vashon (though we could hear a rumbling sound coming from an island just a few miles north...perhaps a moo or two). 

One of us is exceedingly grateful that one of said brewers (hint: his name is not Lucille) pulled the entire way in a mini pace line to make the ferry...from The Hardware Store Restaurant (and bar) feed zone (bloody Mary's, bacon, potatoes) to the ferry that carried us back to West Seattle, where we finished up yet again at the Beveridge Place Pub. The barley wine festival was in full swing...

As with previous years we had two rider groups due to two different ferry departures, not by design. Oops. Willy Nilly.

Okay, so we chickened out on widely promoting this beyond immediate friends. Again. I mean, what if the herd shifts south and replaces our peaceful chaos with mayhem??