The Smell O' Gasoline | Just Between Us

July 15, 1912 | Pacific Motocycling

**A new editor has hold of this paper. **

That may or may not mean anything to the casual reader at this time, but the new man hopes and intends that it shall mean something before very long.

It is a case of one man who, with all his peculiarities, has done a lot of useful work in building up motoring interest on the Pacific Coast; and of another man—the new editor—who came to the Coast after many years of similar work in the East and who had determined not to get into the same line of work out here; a case of the first man wanting the second one to take hold, and of the second man finally doing so, after getting a little knowledge of California real estate life, learning something of tent house building, well digging and other features of ranching and, above all, determining that motocycling on the Pacific Coast is prepared for the kind of journalistic representation it should have and never has had.

In brief, the man who takes the editorial chair will build up the publication. He has clone so for other publications. What has been done can be done again. It is a habit. We have the $inews of war—the “juice”—but we will not, at the start, open the throttle wide. We want the paper to grow naturally and to help build itself.

One of the first things necessary to such a result is a good business manager. He has been secured. He is not yet exclusively on this job, but very shortly will be. A cool-headed business man is vital to the success of any enterprise, and this one is a small bunch of vitality and common sense whose advice in practical matters has been sought and profitably followed by men twice his age. At present he is still organizing a ranch which will make money, but he has one hand on this wheel and his ideas are already taking shape.

The man who formerly was sole owner of the paper has gone back East for the first time in sixteen years, to loaf awhile in a little place in northern New York, where other great men have been born; to make sundry other visits and to return, in some months, and thereafter be useful at the work he is best fitted for—to roam the country over, sleep much under the open sky, write of places “off the beaten path,” and so on, always willing under the supervision of the new editor.

For the present, no names. A company has been formed and in due time the titles of the staff will be plainly hung on our handlebar.

There are already some publications devoted more or less to the technical features of the motocycle. We do not contemplate invading that field now, though what the future may show in that line we do not prophecy. We believe that the “ordinary reader,” the man who buys a machine to use and who is in the great majority, is not a technical man. He wants to know the facts which will help him select his machine and enjoy it afterward. He wants those facts in as nearly simple newspaper English as possible; and he wants the riding conditions of the country he lives in described as he himself would describe them, if he had the ability or time to do so. He wants to read such descriptions himself, to re-enjoy experiences through which he has passed, and he wants readers in other sections of the country to know what the conditions are on the Coast. To supply this need is our job. We cannot reach full usefulness in a minute, but we think we understand the situation.

The very best way to edit a paper is to have it “written by its readers” One of the most interesting publications in the world is—or was—the “Hunter and Trapper,” published in a little town in an eastern state, but read eagerly by men in all parts who make their living largely by trapping muskrat, mink, otter and other bearers of fur; and the interest lies chiefly in what these men tell one another in simple English, as to how many skins of this or that sort each of them got during a season, and the experiences in connection therewith.

The same spirit, breathing through the columns of a motocycling journal, would make it intensely attractive and satisfying. Every reader has had times on the road, or off it-over the fence, maybe, or at lunch under a country roof-which would “make good reading.” Write it down and send it in, and if it’s good and not too long we’ll print it. The real spirit of motocycling is in the open air, out where the breezes blow, not in the factory nor auto show nor on the race track; and it is the conclusions of the ordinary user, and his ways of getting enjoyment and practical results—particularly his methods of righting the things that go wrong on the best of machines-that are of the greatest interest to his fellow users.

**Who will set this ball a-rolling? **

If you want a vivid illustration of what the motocycle means to all sorts of people, come with the writer to a certain tent-house on a gently sloping piece of land in the San Marcos Valley, between Escondido and Oceanside. There you can lie with head high on a camp cot, a quarter of a mile away from the road, and see the fellows pass. You can hear the hum of a machine long before it is in sight, from “Escon” on the east or Richland on the west. Presently it slithers by on the fine-surfaced highway of decomposed granite, passing horse-drawn rigs as though they were still-life pictures out of a past century, placed on a modern, rapidly moving film for the sake of contrast.

Some of those machines are ridden by city people, out for a day among the yellow, hairy hills; but more of them belong to the folks who are the real producers, and who find in the smell o’ gasoline a change from the odor of the fields, to which they are glad to get back before they have been away from it long. There is nothing that will do more to make the man of the country enjoy his own home more, or to realize the beauty of its setting in the landscape, than to get away from it occasionally and compare it with other places. The motocycle enables him to do this. It gratifies his “California spirit,” and it gives that spirit a new meaning by putting a lot of ginger in it.