2013 Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Café Racer Run
The upper Midwest had trouble getting spring off to a start in 2013 with record snowfall amounts in parts of the state in late April and into early May.
It seemed to take the spring running of the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Café Racer Run to really heat things up as the weather finally cleared and temperatures soared near 80 degrees in southern Wisconsin.
Part of the mammoth crowd of winter-weary motorcyclists converged on Pine Bluff, Wis., for the start of the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Café Racer Run. And by the time the riders regrouped in Leland, Wis., the crowd had grown.
As a result, about 2,000 shack-happy motorcyclists dusted off their bikes on the first Sunday in May, and converged on Pine Bluff, just outside Madison for the event that has come to be the semi-unofficial kick-off to the Wisconsin riding season. Another run is held on the first Sunday in October to give the riding season an official send-off.
Unlike highly commercialized events underwritten by sponsors that sell booze, motor oil, gasoline, helmets, boots, doo-rags, to name a few, the Crud Run is beholden to no one.
Its history is linked to the original Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang who created the event unobtrusively back in the 1970s. Over the years it has gradually gained a following and even is the subject of a DVD that does a nice job telling the story entitled “American Café,” produced by Jason Gullickson and directed by Matthew Cribben of Second Society (http://2soc.net/).
There are probably three things that make the Crud Run so special — the people you meet, the spectacular country roads to ride in Southern Wisconsin, and, of course, the nearly endless variety of bikes.
There are some great café racers — you can’t have a café racer run without them. In addition, there are stunning customs, choppers, bobbers, adventure bikes, rat bikes, true classics, sport bikes, Euro bikes, dirt bikes, land speed racers (I’m not exaggerating!) and some backyard customs that are just a little hard to categorize.
One of the highlights of the Cafe Racers was a Triumph owned by Jim Cutting, the producer/writer/director of the DVD “Hogslayer.” His Triumph is among the most immaculate you’ll ever see.
The 2013 turnout at Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Café Racer Run was probably the largest ever — at least in the 10 years I’ve been participating. As a result, the variety of people and bikes was greater than ever, and to the credit of the army of riders that fanned out across the broad Wisconsin River valley on their way to Leland, the event was safe and loads of fun for everybody.
Photos by Gary Ilminen