What and when?

Next Willy Nilly: v15 - Sunday, February ??, 2023

The Willy Nilly is an individual and free-form version of an annual season-opening bicycling spin that happens on beautifully weird Vashon Island.

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 (for the record: this is not a ride that is in any way intended to be organized for, or by, anyone...it should be considered solely as, um, performance art...yeah, that's it...)
> "Ride your ride": Willy Nilly riders choose their ride details...start time, route, distance, pace...lycra, wool, or denim...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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v12: 2020: Danger, high voltage

Willy Nilly
February 23, 2020

Let's just say this was the year of the Willy Nilly electric slide...

...the one where riders encountered storm-downed trees, requiring a dismount from bicycles to slide under/around the trees splayed across the rainy road...all while keeping downed power lines - some encountered were ablaze - at a respectful distance.


Otherwise, Willy Nilly 2020 started off normally enough...this year we heard that the blustery-cold stormy weather had deterred many, but per usual there's no way to know how many individuals and groups rode their own Willy Nilly rides...given there's no registration, with riders starting at their own times, choosing their own routes...


Meanwhile, gravel Willy Nilly riding made its debut, thanks to the Alki Velo Club...






The winds were fierce, as were the thirsts afterward at the Beveridge Place Pub, which is about the only aspect of Willy Nilly that one can anticipate reliably...