What and when?

SUMMER WN RIDE: 6th Annual Sunride, a Summer Solstice Hillclimb: Sunday, June 30, 2019

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

> Why isn't this happening on actual solstice weekend? a) Avoid stepping on the - er - toes of the Fremont solstice parade cyclists (nudity mixed with bikes aligns with Willy Nilly spirit), b) Greater chance the road up to Sunrise Visitor Center will be open to riders
> Registration/fees: Nope
> "Ride your ride": The total number of Sunriders on the road that day historically ranges 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 Saturday night some of us will be snoozing at nearby campgrounds such as The Dalles, or Silver Springs

Access/Route Details
> Road access details are subject to change per the whims of the rangers and/or maintenance personnel
> Around solstice time, the road up to Sunrise from the gate near the White River Campground intersection is typically closed to all public traffic during the week, however...
> Sometimes the gate/road is opened up for hikers and bicycles (not cars) during the weekend
> That said, maintenance crews may decide at any moment to close the gate to all traffic for any timeframe of their choosing
> Thus, 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

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NEXT WINTER WN RIDE: 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...

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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.

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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??