Celebrating open-air freedom at the Crud

After 14 months of a Covid winter

This uneasy rider regards Slimey Crud, always the first Sunday in May and October, as highlights of his year. (That observation should evoke a certain amount of pity but let’s move on.)

The Crud is a completely organic gathering of motorcycles of all makes, from screaming Italian crotch rockets to rumbling Harley Davidson baggers. Saw more Indians this year than ever before. (No engine more beautiful, no heritage more honorable.) A few Royal Enfields (now made in India) and many British Triumphs — including some six-bangers. Pride of place goes to the rat bikes and ancients, like the WW2 olive-drab Harley WLA, complete with rifle in the leather scabbard. No Best of Show because the Crud does not judge, charge admission, or advertise.

Sunny skies and a high temp of 84 degrees F brought out at least one thousand motorcycles Sunday morning 05-02-21 to Pine Bluff in western Dane County WI to see and be seen. That’s the real attraction, aside from the ride, the beer and brats. The owner talking about what he did to his ride and why.

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One of this bloggeur’s favorites from Sunday’s outing is the mid-70s Moto Guzzi ratted out to look like Erwin Rommel’s desert fox, complete with ammo boxes. The owner from McHenry IL says he has logged over 300,000 miles on the beast. The unique windscreen is exactly that, a sheet of window screen wrapped over a metal grill and spray painted like the rest of the bike in desert camo. This guy likes wind in his face but not bugs in his teeth. (To each his own!) The man seemed perfectly rational, otherwise.

Another favorite is this screaming red BMW pulling a single-wheel trailer via a universal ball joint. We’re guessing this setup rides better in the twists than the typical trailer on two wheels.

Riding companions Earl Kielley, Steve Witherspoon, and brother Bill found our third favorite at Leland, the Crud’s afternoon venue in Sauk County. A VW Beetle cut in half to accommodate a motorcycle front end. Its back window was mesh, lest the cab drag like a parachute on the proceedings. Seats three. Wins the trophy for Outrageous if there were awards.

If there’s any politics at the Crud it tends to be libertarian, like the Harley with a sidecar occupied by a dummy wearing a breathing apparatus. Otherwise, not a single mask other than a few kerchiefs some riders always wear to guard against bugs. While riding, only.

We could have and should have photographed the wild paint job of human skulls all over a particular Harley. And the rider whose jacket bore several hundred patches and pins. The ride-along dogs wearing eye masks.

While in Leland, beer cup from Sprecher’s tavern in hand, sheriff’s deputies mingling, a parade of lady motorcyclists rumbled by on Highway C. Didn’t see the squadron of minibikes with lawn mower engines like last year. That’s the beauty of the motorcycle world. Individuality but also brotherhood (and sisterhood). Freedom but also, respect. Movement and tradition. (Now we sound like Burt Wolf.) That’s our America.

What says Freedom to YOU?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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2 Responses to Celebrating open-air freedom at the Crud

  1. Great day to ride. I loved meandering through all the motorcycles. Will be enjoying as many of the next ones as I can.

    I got a little too much sun on the ride home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. georgessson says:

    Great post, David, a remarkable scene and you described so well. I rarely missed the May or the October fun, and I have made a few VIDS. This is the most popular, tho more recent ones are on my channel:

    I usually only do the 1st leg to Pine Bluff B/C too many “squids” have too many brewskies for the 2nd Leland leg. Sadly, one squid (2007 Yamaha crotch rocket) and a late model Harley missed their turns about an hour apart. Both perished due to “pilot error”. Happens…

    ALFA/Porsche Hill Climb in New Glarus on Saturday. Wish they were spaced further apart fer old guys like me….

    Makes me smile that you & the crew had a blast !!!

    Liked by 2 people

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