We present results of laboratory experiments on the formation, evolution, and wavelength selection of vortex ripples. These ripples formed on a sediment bed at the bottom of a water-filled oscillating cylindrical tank mounted on top of a rotating table. The table is made to oscillate sinusoidally in time, while a constant background rotation was added for some experiments. The changes in bed thickness are measured using a light attenuation technique. It was found that the wavelength normalized with the excursion length depends on both a Reynolds number and the Strouhal number. This differs from straight or annular geometries where the wavelength is proportional to the excursion length. The flow in an oscillating cylinder has the peculiarity that it develops a secondary flow in the radial direction that depends on the excursion length. The effect of this secondary circulation is evident in the radial transport for small values of the Strouhal number or in the orientation of the ripples for strong enough background rotation. Additionally, ripples in an oscillating cylinder present a rich dynamic behavior where the number of ripples can oscillate even with constant forcing parameters.