What and when?

NEXT RIDE: 11th Annual Willy Nilly: Sunday, February 24 (pending confirmation), 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, but prefer to dodge herds, registration, fees, and rules, then...

You're welcome to join in on 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 start time: 30 minutes prior to ferry departure closest to 9:30 am (schedule not yet confirmed)
> Fauntleroy/Vashon ferry departure time options: (schedule not yet confirmed)
> 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...

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

Join us for a solstice-welcoming spin up to Sunrise Visitor Center at Mt. Rainier. "We" could be 5 riders or 150, with varied start times/locations ("ride your ride").

> Registration/fees: Nope
> Campout: On Fri night some of us will be snoozing at Silver Springs Campground (after dinner/beverages at the Naches Tavern)
> "Standard" is a suggested popular option ("ride your ride")...
> 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

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 Plan B 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

"Ride your ride": Join whoever shows up or bring your own riding comrades, your pace, your style, start time is just a guide

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

v6: 2014: Ah, back to chilly no-frilly late winter conditions...

Winter Willy Nilly
February 23, 2014

This year the Willy Nilly returned to it's original format. That is to say, on the same date as that of a well-established season-opening herd of cyclists on a different island near Seattle. 

In the spirit of Willy Nilly there were two waves of riders on their own schedules, doing their own route, each riding their ride on a day of perfectly reasonable weather (there's no such thing as an ugly day on Vashon). 

"And the ferry ramp Strava king of the mountain is..."
The first wave, which I'll refer to as the Strava-tistas (see one blogger's commentary), took an earlier ferry and surely established all kinds of performance records that no one had heretofore been motivated to attempt. Remnants of this wave stuck around the Beveridge Place long enough post-ride to welcome the second wave and share some malty/hoppy deliciousness and Willy Nilly camaraderie...

Wave two riders, more inspired to "stroll" than "perform", nevertheless accomplished an artistically-oriented achievement for posterity by collaborating with the bartender of The Hardware Store to identify and test the perfect final component of a beverage masterpiece that had been in development for more than five years: The Admiral (a Bloody Caesar made with gin versus vodka). A feat of genius by the bartender was performed by adding rolled anchovies to the already heavily-laden garnish stick.

So yeah, we had a lovely ride with comfortably crisp weather that was mostly dry....that is, until we departed The Hardware Store for a dash to the ferry dock, at which time we were blessed with just enough rain that we were able to feel as if we were intrepid Belgian Spring Classics riders deserving of many finish line beers.