What and when?

13th Annual Willy Nilly ride: Cancelled due to COVID-19

The Willy Nilly is an individual and free-form version of an annual season-opening bicycling spin that normally happens during the last Sunday of February, on Vashon Island, WA

PLEASE NOTE: We urge everyone who rides their bike, whether on Willy Nilly day or any other, to know and follow all relevant COVID-19 safety requirements and recommendations.

Willy Nilly Basics

> Registration/fees: None (this is definitely not an organized ride; this is a ride that some of us do sometimes)
> "Ride your ride": We spontaneously select our routes/distances, ride paces...maybe some road, gravel, or single track (there are trails on Vashon)...
> Typical start: Outside (south side) of Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle
> Typical finish: Beveridge Place Pub (we believe in post-ride re-hydration)
> BPP to Fauntleroy dock: map
> One of many Vashon routes (a "standard"): map

Scroll down to view hastily-scribed blurb posts about past Willy Nillys...

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Willy Nilly Gear

> Willy Nilly t-shirts (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.

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v9: 2017: DRIEST, POPULAREST and most RECORD-BREAKING season-opening ride EVER! #MaybeFakeNews #MakeVashonWeirdAgain

Winter Willy Nilly
February 26, 2017

Well as I predicted many times - so many, many times...too many times to count - before this year's Willy Nilly ride, the weather this year was going to be great. Amazingly great. And guess what? It was so great. And because of my uniquely great talent for negotiating the future with nature, I was the only one smart enough to wear sunscreen. And what does that tell you? I wore sunscreen, becase it was very sunny, alright? And because I'm very very smart. So it was sunny. And warm. And dry. I can't tell you how great the dryness was that I alone negotiated!! "You're welcome" is all I gotta say.

I alone negotiated with nature for bathing suit weather during Willy Nilly 2017 (#MaybeFakeNews)

Now, you may have heard some #FakeNews...let me repeat that: #Fake-News...that some disloyal cowards leaked (and trust me, they will pay for their leakage), but no, there was no drizzling rain or bone-deep chilliness...and no, there was no actual concern about possible hypno-thermia issues when one rider made an extended forced-stop to deal with a mechanical problem with his crangkarm. What's that? Oh, crank arm. Whatever that is. Doesn't matter. I'm not some lowly mechanic. Grease under my fingernails? Fuhgedaboudit! I mean, I could be the best mechanic in the universe if I wanted to...#NotFair to doubt my potential just because I don't know what a crangkarn is.

#FakeNews! (credit Ken P)
Did you also hear the word on the street about all of those chilly Willy Nilly riders, jostling with their pointy little bicyclist elbows to get closest to the profane heater, while enjoying delish coffee at the Burton Coffee Stand? So #TotallyFakeNews.

Just like the #FaaakeNeeews that riders took turns eagerly warming their lycra tushes...around a toasty fireplace...while having darn tasty beer from Georgetown Brewing and delish brunchy-snacks at the Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe. The food and hot/cold beverages there are just so super-great when I'm there, and only when I'm there, see, because the people...the people who work there and the people who go there - everyone - all the people love me so much that the food ordered by me or anyone with me is always just the bomb - always!

The Willy Nilly crowds this year were just so huge - and I mean freaking huuuge - that we broke records. SO MANY RECORDS! That's right, no bigger crowd of riders has ever-before come together like this, never in the history of season-opening bicycle rides anytime, anywhere, in the entire...history...of-the WORLD. History of the universe, actually, to be perfectly honest.

A few of the record-breaking number of riders that attended (#MaybeFakeNews)