Here are a several principles of cycling to which I've committed over the years. I was reminded of some of them this evening, while pedaling on my own after being dropped from the group (for the second, and final, time):
1. I am a rider, not a racer. I ride for fun and health.
2. I sometimes enjoy riding hard and fast, but not always.
3. Riding easy is sometimes more fun than riding hard, and can be productive.
4. Regular interval training makes you stronger; but so do regular recovery rides.
5. Riding in large groups (e.g., of 10 or more riders) usually sucks.
6. Riding with hammerheads (defined as riders who have only one speed - really fast) always sucks.
7. Riding with friends is usually, but not always, better than riding alone.
8. I will not ride with "squirrely" riders (i.e., those who move around in more or less random ways).
9. Whenever a group ride turns into a race, I almost always go backwards (usually by choice).
10. Cycling, at my level, is not about which rider is better than which other rider, but which group of riders have the most fun riding together.
11. Contrary to what some coaches say, there's no such thing as a "junk mile."
12. In cycling, my only competition is myself. I work to improve because being a better cyclist is more fun.
13. The most fun I have on a bike is riding with my son.
14. When cycling stops being fun, I do something else.