The Slimey Crud Run is a grass roots event that takes place twice a year in South Central Wisconsin.
There are no big ad campaigns, no corporate sponsors, no local or regional newspaper or TV promotions, not even the usual obligatory one-size-promotes-all beer banners with the name of the event emblazoned on a huge blank white spot.
Despite all the makings of what should be an unknown event, the Slimey Crud Café Racer Run in southern Wisconsin is attended twice each year, on the first Sunday in May and October, by riders from all over the country and routinely has participants from at least five states in the upper Midwest.
Its origins are nearly as murky as Stonehenge, dating back to the early Seventies, according to one of its co-founders, former Triumph/Bultaco/Matchless racer and former Triumph dealer Lyall Sharer. From humble beginnings, the event has become an organic thing that thrives on its own energy. At each gathering, it isn’t uncommon for anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 machines to show up.
The Crud Run meanders across the scenic Wisconsin River valley from Pine Bluff in Dane county to Leland in Sauk County. The distance between the villages is less than 30 miles in a straight line, but the road mileage can vary from about 70 to, well, who knows? No specific route is prescribed, so the best way to go depends entirely on your imagination.
Despite the name, the event is not limited to the sheathed-in-plastic sportbike set. In fact, while there’s something for everybody in every class of bike, the event seems much more like a rolling vintage and classic bike show.
I set out to see some bikes, get some miles, and represent ABATE of Wisconsin. Yes sir, thousands of bikes descended on the one-stop-sign towns of Leland and Pine Bluff and it was fantastic.
Look ma! Bikers! I would not want to live across the street from the Red Mouse.
I did not go alone. After losing Bart, I started looking for other ways to find people to ride with, and stumbled upon a Meetup group called The Lost Motorcycle Riders of Milwaukee. I’ll write about this at some point in the future, but this turned out to be a great way to find a group.
While there’s no corporate sponsors, a few people do get permission from one of the bars to set up a racing demo station or a brat fry, and of course there are bikes for sale and people looking to be seen.
This year, however, the weather was not cruddy at all. No, this was The Amazing Sunshine run. There are many different ways to get between Leland and Pine Bluff, and you’re encouraged to find your own way. May 6th in Wisconsin there’s still a lot of sand and salt on the roads, but there were plenty of sharp corners and views to make it a fantastic day.
It’s all about the bikes though:
I am reminded that the last SCR I attended was with my fallen brother. I didn’t really think about it during the ride: just the night before and after I got home. Wind therapy still works.
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