The last few Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Café Racer Runs have been comparatively small events thanks to bad weather, the pandemic or both.
Not this time. The sun was out, the temps soared into the 80s, and optimism that the pandemic is fading brought out the riders for the spring running of the Crud Run, 2021. There were still some masks in evidence, the CDC has relaxed guidance on mask use for outdoor events and vaccinations are happening across the nation.
Result: what some observers estimated at about 2,000 riders showed up for the Run.
Let’s face it; folks were ready to get out and ride, see the countryside, see a jaw-dropping array of bikes and just relax in the sun. After all, ultraviolet light from the sun kills pathogens and there was a lot of sunshine at last.
For those who may not be familiar with the event, the Slimey Crud Run has its roots with the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang back in the 1970s. There are no big-name sponsors and never have been. There is no big advertising and promotion.
There are no road captains, no fixed route, or schedule to follow. It is an entirely organic, run-whatcha-brung, informal gathering of the motorcycle faithful, whatever they ride (need not be a café racer), whoever they are and wherever they’re from. The Run starts in the tiny berg of Pine Bluff, in Dane county, Wisc., and meanders by any route a rider may choose to equally tiny Leland, in Sauk county.
The weekend for me actually got underway on Friday afternoon when Dean Massoglia arrived from the U.P. of Michigan. Dean and I go back literally to birthday number one. We were born a week apart and our families lived next door to each other for much of our growth years in the wilds of far northern Wisconsin.
We went from strollers to bicycles to mini-bikes to motorcycles together. Indeed, the first engine we ever blew was on his super-cool Fox mini-bike. It turns out that a four hp Tecumseh flat head engine was not designed to be revved wide open with no load on it for an inappropriate length of time. That resulted in the broken con-rod punching a hole in the front of the crankcase. But I digress.
Dean rides an ex-police Harley-Davidson FLHP. Saturday was sunny, warm and very windy, and we were joined by our mutual friend from back in the 1970s, Tony Fransen on his 1985 Honda V65 Sabre.
Despite the wind, we managed to do a 200+ mile round trip to the Mississippi where we took in the view of the vast Mississippi river valley from atop Mt. Hosmer in Lansing, IA.
Sunday dawned partly cloudy and warmer with less wind than Saturday. Dean and I met Tony at Pine Bluff and the sunny weather definitely helped us to have plenty of company.
We took a round-about meandering route on town and county roads from Pine Bluff in Dane county to the endpoint of the run at Leland in Sauk county. We even managed to sponge a free lunch off Dean at a great little restaurant in Arena, WI, called Grandma Mary’s.
At Leland, the crowd was big, laid-back, and fun, and just about any kind of bike you can imagine was on display at each end of the run. The best weather in several runs really contributed to a relaxed outdoor experience.
Sadly, the perfect Sunday for the Run was marred by tragedy. Two motorcyclists died in separate crashes on Sauk county roads several miles from Leland only about an hour apart. Both incidents were single-vehicle crashes involving the motorcycle leaving the road. Whether either of the riders was participating in the Run was not reported.