Cyclist will bring his tales of adventure to Vashon

Willie Weir in Columbia.  - Courtesy Photo
Willie Weir in Columbia.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

After 60,000 miles of cycling across every kind of terrain through 32 countries, adventure cyclist Willie Weir will add Vashon’s infamous rumble strips to his list of challenges when he pedals over to the Island to present “A Frugal Cyclist’s Guide to the Universe.” Weir will speak at the Ober Park performance room on Friday evening. Admission is free.

The event serves as something of an appetizer for Island cyclists who will tackle Passport to Pain (P2P), a punishing 78-mile ride up and down Vashon’s steepest hills, the next morning. In fact, Weir plans to stay the night and see how he does in the P2P ride himself.

“I may get my butt kicked by Vashon’s hills,” said Weir, “but I believe a solid butt-kicking is good for the soul.”

Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist Magazine and a traveling commentator for Seattle’s KUOW radio. His articles on adventure travel have earned him the Lowell Thomas Award from the American Society of Travel Writers. He speaks at events around the country, telling stories from his adventures and advocating the bicycle as the world’s best travel vehicle.

In “Frugal Cyclist,” Weir tells tales of getting the most bang for his buck when cycling the world, whether he’s giving the world’s cheapest engagement ring, knocking on doors for free lodging or eating his way to free ice cream. His talk Friday night will bring to life stories from his latest book, “Travels with Willie,” tales Weir hopes will leave his audience chuckling and “wanting to chuck the day job and hit the road.”

Weir cites fear of the unknown as the biggest obstacle that gets in people’s way when considering a bicycle adventure in a foreign land.

“The first question you have to answer is whether or not you really want to go on an adventure,” said Weir. “Don’t obsess over finding the perfect bike or learning the language inside and out or getting into the best shape of your life. Answer that first question and the rest will get done.”

So what will Willie do to help him overcome the toughest hills that Vashon can throw at him?

“I’ll just chant ‘It’s not as bad as Baldwin Street’ over and over to myself,” he said.

To hear Willie’s story of cycling up Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest residential street located in New Zealand, come to the Ober Park Performance room Friday at 7:30 p.m.


— Jeff Hoyt is a cyclist and a member of the Vashon Island Rowing Club.


There are still spots left in the second annual Passport to Pain, a benefit for the Vashon Island Rowing Club. See


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