Gum Shoe Trek

10,000 Miles of Investigation and Study

By Chet Billings, Photography by Unknown

From Milwaukee we went to Chicago, thence to Kansas City and from there returned to the coast via the southern route which took us to such cities as Oklahoma City, Wichita Falls, Midland and El Paso, Texas. In Phoenix we met our secretary, E.C. Smith, for the fourth time on our trip and mushed on into L.A., arriving at midnight the 8th or one day short of 11 weeks after our departure. Our mileage was 9,550 and that did not include one circle of nearly 800 miles.

It is impossible due to the lateness of this issue to completely report upon the findings of the trip. Such a wealth of ideas can be secured upon such a trip that it would take a series of articles to tell all.

We cover the trip in this issue, as it may lay a foundation for a series of short articles which will appear in various numbers of the book throughout the Winter.

We do wish to give a brief cross-section of the whole reaction and that is that motorcycling is going along on a more substantial basis than ever in its history and by that we include the days when there were many makes and high registrations. In those days it was partly a necessity and partly a fad. The automobile had not yet been developed. Today motorcycling lives as a sport, as a police necessity and as a boon in certain commercial fields. Today you can see the effects of national organization with motorcyclists everywhere working toward the same ends.

Our biggest problem as the editor sees it is the final, rapid and definite elimination of certain undesirables who blotch the name of motorcycling with actions which do not represent the attitude of the majority. As one meets riders over that many miles, his impressions nine-tenths of the time are favorable. But when he sees the one wise guy-dirty, noisy, inconsiderate and just plain dumb, he cannot help but think of a suggestion which appeared in a recent article written by a west coast police captain. We refer to the article by Lynn Harrison in the July issue of The Motorcyclist. He told of how one club had cured a rider of undesirable tactics by shunning him. He said, “What that club has done should be done by every club in the country. Give the undesirable the cold shoulder. Force him to change his style before he is permitted to enjoy the friendship and share the fun of your fraternity.”

That one short paragraph holds the keynote to a great part of the future of motorcycling in America if we were smart enough to know it. Everybody knows how motorcyclists stick together, how they share things with one another and always stop to help. It is a fine sentiment and one that exists in no stronger proportions in any other fraternity. At the same time it is a stronger weapon against the undesirable than all the efforts of the A.M.A., the factories and their dealers, and the magazine combined. Give the undesirable a cold shoulder, deny him your comradeship and your help. He’ll soon change.

Conditions nationally are good. Some of our best years, though fraught with certain business problems, are undoubtedly still ahead. Anyone who travels such a circuit can not help but finish enthused, and enthused about the future of motorcycling.

By Chet Billings
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