Celebrating freedom & individuality at the Crud

Not just Old School but Out of School!

This old road warrior probably doesn’t know any better but he is feeling truly blessed these days. Crabapple trees in full blossom has something to do with it. Number One Son Max will be a good news feature in Wednesday’s Capital Times and the Lovely Lisa still makes the Old Guy great food.

This year’s semi-annual Slimey Crud (It’s even spelled incorrectly!) Sunday 05-07-23 was one of the best. The Crud is a totally disorganized gathering of all makes of two- and three-wheelersthe older, more obscure, and more decrepit, the better the bragging rights.

Perfect weather! Temps above 80° F, high skies, and maybe a record number of bikes. Riding partner Steve Witherspoon estimates north of a thousand. Steve Kellner led our threesome, the two Steves on newer Milwaukee 8 Harleys, Blaska on his 750cc V7-II Moto Guzzi, past road signs marked with squiggly arrows. We worked the back road twisties the long way through northern Iowa County and across the big river to the unincorporated hamlet of Leland WI in Sauk County. There, we enjoyed the passing parade from the deck at Schelter’s tavern, on the shore of the Honey Creek millpond.

But the first stop of every Crud is Pine Bluff, which sits at the intersection of County Hwy P and Mineral Point Road (County Hwy S) seven miles due west of Madison WI. Like Leland, Pine Bluff supports two taverns and one church and sits in farmed and wooded hill country. It was in Pine Bluff we found our cruddiest motorcycle. 

Not based on any actual motorcycle, it is totally sui generis — from the frame outward. Shown by a man who gave his name as Peter O’Gallagher from (fittingly) Erin WI, which is a little north and east of Oconomowoc in Washington County. Pretty country there, too.

Powered by a 3 hp, one-cylinder Milwaukee engine originally built for a gravel/asphalt compactor! (Probably rides like it, too!) A lantern for illumination, squeeze bulb horn, wooden-spoke wheels, and a sidecar made of timber that supports a leather sofa that might have been made during Abe Lincoln’s time. As a bonus, the tiny toolbox was secured with a heavy chain and a honking big padlock to protect its can of WD-40. This contraption must be brought to life via a hand crank like the old Tin Lizzies. No sign of any blue tooth, GPS screen, cruise control, traction control, or ABS. ( 🎶 Ain’t got no cigarettes! 🎵 )

Peter said he didn’t build it and this inept reporter neglected to ask who should take the blame but was told the evil genius is now deceased. Perhaps from riding his creation, one might speculate.

The runner-up ride really wasn’t cruddy but interesting and we didn’t think to photograph it. A motorcycle with what resembled a semi-enclosed chariot with no seat and a gate at the rear. No seat? Now we got it! For a wheelchair user!

Blaska’s Bottom Line: We can’t help but admire the enterprise and imagination that goes into these creations. A celebration of individuality and freedom of the road. Truly, if there were  a thousand motorcycles at the Spring 2023 Crud, no two were alike. 

Does that spell Ah-mur-i-ca! or what?


About David Blaska

Madison WI
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5 Responses to Celebrating freedom & individuality at the Crud

  1. Here’s a brief video from Leland, WI.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I probably should have thought ahead and put on some sunscreen like you did. I got a bit burnt but it only took till this morning for it all to turn into tan, I got lucky this time.


  3. Great weather, good leisurely ride through the hills and valleys, good conversation, and great bikes as far as you could see. Another great bike day!


  4. Pingback: Celebrating freedom & individuality at the Crud – Wisconsin Family News

  5. Wm, tyroler says:

    Excellent write-up by the Cap Times. (Not sure the last time I harbored that thought; decades.) Best of luck to Max.

    Liked by 1 person

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