As for the keeping up with a fast group vs. waiting for the slowest rider... I like the IDEA @Rossi Smash puts forward about being able to smell the flowers. It fits with my world view, or at least with what I'd like to think my world view is. However, a primary goal for me when cycling is to get and stay fit. Even though I'm not a racer and am far from being able to hang with the local big dogs (especially on the road), I find that when I ride with casual riders I'm essentially putting in junk miles, from a fitness perspective. I spend almost as much time waiting as I do riding, and as a result do not get the workout I need. If I were riding five or six days every week, that would probably be fine. I could mix it up and use those as recovery rides. But as often as not I'm only riding two or three times a week, and therefore need to make every ride "count."
Same. It's the difference between a purely social ride, compared to a training ride (which is also often social). Social rides for me average 14-15mph, while training rides avg 18-22mph. Different goals. One is to just get out there and cruise around, and enjoy the day, talk w/friends, get the blood flowing a bit. The other is to bring my conditioning, pace and efficiency up, and there's no other expectation from me other than fun, fast, challenging riding, and I try to bring my threshold of discomfort (pain management) up so I don't have people waiting for me, so I ratchet up what I'm capable of doing at whatever percentage of max effort at the time. Both are good, just different.
Edited by Super D - 4/16/14 at 6:00pm