Slimey Crud Motorcycle Café Racer Rally - Spring 2019

Rule #1: Tell everyone about SCR!

The Red Mouse Bar & Grill hosts the Slimey Crud Run.
The Red Mouse Bar & Grill hosts the Slimey Crud Run twice a year and, on the occasional nice day, the parking spills over to the large lot next door.Tyler Greenblatt

This isn't Fight Club. Rule number one of the Slimey Crud Run is you must talk about Slimey Crud Run. Invite your friends, family, neighbors, anyone else who rides motorcycles to come out and enjoy motorcycles together. If you don't do it, no one else will. There's no marketing department, no social-media-savvy promoter, no one to entice you with bands, merch, trophies, or Instagram stardom. The Slimey Crud Run is the story of everyday motorcyclists coming together and enjoying the company of one another, their machines, and, most importantly, the ride.

The number one reason participants told me they show up twice a year, the first Sunday in May and the first Sunday in October, is because there are no sponsors, no entry fees, no official times, no official route, no specific type or style of motorcycle, in fact, there’s nearly no organizing body to put the event on. Then what draws thousands of motorcyclists to a small town in Wisconsin twice a year? It’s simple. It’s all about the ride.

Ducati MH900e at the Slimey Crud Run.
An incredible assortment of motorcycles is available for your viewing pleasure, many of which are rarely seen on the street. Who would’ve guessed that this 2000 or ’01 Ducati MH900e would be hiding out in Wisconsin?Tyler Greenblatt

Riders start showing up to The Red Mouse bar in Pine Bluff, Wisconsin, around 8 a.m. There are no signs or banners to greet them. No traffic cops or volunteers in hi-vis vests directing traffic or showing you where to park. Just pull on in to the bar’s parking lot and find a space. For this year’s spring ride, sprinkles of rain had already begun to fall around the time I pulled in at 8, and only a handful of riders beat me there.

With every passing minute, the weather began to clear, more riders pulled in, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, a bike show sprang up! Vintage British, Italian, and Japanese motorcycles poured in by ones and twos, and then by the dozen. In addition to the classics, hundreds of Harleys, sportbikes, adventure bikes, and sport-tourers quickly filled up the large bar lot and then filled up the even bigger senior center lot next door.

Yamaha FJ1200
A mint Yamaha FJ1200 made it out to compete with the bevy of classic Hondas in attendance.Tyler Greenblatt

One rider pulled in not too long after I did on a 2016 BMW 1200 that looked like it had been ridden too far to be anyone local. The Virginia license plate confirmed my suspicions, so I spoke with the bike’s owner, Bill May, who indeed turned out to be from McLean, Virginia. He had ridden 2,300 miles, taking the long way to Wisconsin by way of the Mississippi River. Bill has been coming to the Slimey Crud Run for the past four years ever since he read an article by noted local motojournalist Peter Egan, who played a large role in developing the event some 40 years ago. His favorite part about the event, and the reason he keeps coming back, is because of the great group of riders that show up rain or shine and the informal nature. “The people are here for the right reasons,” he says. “Nobody’s selling anything, it’s not commercialized. There are no T-shirts, no vendors, no registration. Just awesome people.”

Velocette Viper motorcycle at the Slimey Crud Run.
Velocette is an English brand that built smaller-displacement motorcycles from the 1920s to the 1970s. This one appears to be a late ’50s or early ’60s 349cc Viper model.Tyler Greenblatt

Matt Jones and his son Kyle are decidedly more local, hailing from Janesville, Wisconsin, about an hour away from Pine Bluff. Based on the motorcycles they rode in on, this father-son duo represents the wonderful diversity that makes the Slimey Crud Run special. Matt rides a beautifully restored 1986 Honda VFR700 while Kyle rides a totally tricked-out 2016 Sportster Roadster. This is their second time coming to the show, and after taking a couple of walks around, they’ve already decided to come back next year for the cool bikes and people.

Crowd gathered at The Red Mouse in Pine Bluff, Wisconsin for the Slimey Crud Run.
By 10 a.m. quite a crowd had gathered at The Red Mouse in Pine Bluff, Wisconsin. Just about every type and brand of motorcycle was in attendance.Tyler Greenblatt

The weather, which for that time in Wisconsin could be anything from the most beautiful day imaginable to torrential downpour or even a late snowstorm (hence the “Slimey Crud” name). This morning, the rain had completely cleared up and riders were getting suited up for the ride. Just like with the event’s timing, there’s no specific route set either, just a final destination. Everyone takes off with their own group, and oftentimes riders will latch on with an existing group or form their own.

Bill May with his BMW GS at the Slimey Crud Run.
Bill May rode his BMW GS the long way from Virginia, covering 2,300 miles in the process. This is his fourth time attending the Slimey Crud Run and he already can’t wait to come back.Tyler Greenblatt

Although there’s technically no start time for the ride, SCR’s website notes that 10 a.m. is usually the high point of activity at The Red Mouse, and it was right on the money. My riding group showed up around that time, as did many others who wanted to take some time to walk around and enjoy the array of motorcycles before taking off on the ride.

We walked around the event one last time, oohing and aahing over the variety of machines and stopping to speak with owners of our favorite bikes. A number of “I used to have one just like that’s” could be heard as we walked, with each one followed up with a particular story about that bike and the times he had with it.

Matt and Kyle Jones from Janesville, Wisconsin check out the Slimey Crud Run.
Matt and Kyle Jones from nearby Janesville, Wisconsin, are checking out the SCR for the second time, and although they have different tastes in motorcycles, they ride together every chance they get.Tyler Greenblatt

At around 11, with the lot in Pine Bluff still at capacity, we put on our helmets and gear, fired up the bikes, and rolled out. The guys I had planned to ride with were all on varying brands of superbikes, save for one on an early ’90s Ninja 750, so I brought up the rear on my ’82 Honda CBX. Our lead rider had already mapped out an amazing route to Leland, Wisconsin, about 30 miles as the crow flies across the Wisconsin River in what’s known as the Driftless Area. We expanded that seemingly short distance into a three-hour tour through some of Wisconsin’s best riding areas. After a gas stop, and a small rest stop across the river from renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate, we pulled into quite a crowd that had amassed at Sprecher’s Bar in Leland.

Honda CBR1000RR and rider at the Slimey Crud Run.
Plenty of high-performance bikes could be found, like this Honda CBR1000RR and a rider who looks like he’s used to people checking out his ride.Tyler Greenblatt

A quick bite to eat is made easy with a Sprecher’s summer sausage sandwich, and most riders like to relax for a bit before getting back in the saddle and continuing on. Our perfect weather this year was quickly coming to an end, so we decided on a route and headed home, me to Madison and the rest of my group to the Milwaukee area.

If you’re looking for an old-school motorcycle event to attend later this autumn (first Sunday in October) or again next spring, and you’re sick and tired of the vendor tents, merch sales, and sponsored bike shows, the Slimey Crud Run might be for you. Just remember, there’s no trailer parking, and bring your friends along!

Honda CBR1000RR and rider at the Slimey Crud Run.
Plenty of high-performance bikes could be found, like this Honda CBR1000RR and a rider who looks like he’s used to people checking out his ride.Tyler Greenblatt
1995 Kawasaki ZX-7 Ninja with rider at the Slimey Crud Run.
A lean, mean, green 1995 Kawasaki ZX-7 Ninja added a solid dose of ’90s sportbike attitude to the morning.Tyler Greenblatt
Motorcycles beside water and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate.
My riding group for the day taking a well-deserved rest stop across the Wisconsin River from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate. That’s just the welcome center pictured here.Tyler Greenblatt
Sprecher’s Pub hosts the Slimey Crud Run in Leland, Wisconsin.
The Slimey Crud Run’s Leland, Wisconsin, destination is Sprecher’s Pub which offers delicious summer sausage sandwiches. It’s only 37 miles as the crow flies from Pine Bluff, but most riders extend that ride to 100-plus miles and enjoy the wonderful roads that Wisconsin’s Driftless Area has to offer.Tyler Greenblatt
Bikers at the Slimey Crud Run.
Thanks to my riding crew for letting me tag along with them and document the day!Tyler Greenblatt