If you're not having a laugh, you're doing it wrong.

There are some seriously hardcore bikers out there. There's your Iron Butt riders, dirt riders who take their machines practically anywhere just because they can, the Harley-Davidson die-hards of course, and more. While Traction eRag asks this question specifically about dirt riding, I think it applies to all of motorcycling in general: Is it getting too serious?

Certainly, we should all take motorcycling seriously. Let's face it, it can kill you. That's why we preach about proper gear, techniques, and all that good stuff. It's way too easy to take this sport that's supposed to be fun far too seriously. You might feel you have to have the right bike, make all the proper modifications, that you have to ride fast and far in order to be a "real" biker.

That's hogwash. One of my basic philosophies of life is that if you're not having fun, it's not worth doing. This applies specifically to motorcycles, too. Don't forget to have a laugh while you're doing it. I've been riding for about 20 years, and from time to time I still giggle maniacally when I ride a technical section of road or trail perfectly. I also laugh at my mistakes, which are frequent when it comes to my dirt riding "skills" (I use that term loosely, and intend to do something about that).

That's one reason why I love tiny bikes like the Honda Grom, Kawasaki Z125, and others so much. They're too slow for the highway (or even the hilly territory where I live, or I'd own one), too small to be practical, and they are about nothing but having fun on two wheels. A full-grown adult looks ridiculous on a motorcycle so small, and that's the beauty of it. I'd get one of those Muppet head helmet covers to go with it if I had one, just so people could share the laugh I'm having while putt-putting around on such a ridiculous machine.

If you truly enjoy your Iron Butt rides, or climbing steep obstacles on your dirt bike, or dressing up in leather and cruising in your Harley-Davidson biker gang, then more power to you. Seriously, keep right on doing what you enjoy. There is no one right way to ride. If you stop enjoying it, though, take a long hard look at why and then make whatever changes you need to make motorcycling new and fresh again. That's how it should be, all about having fun.