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

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.