I did my first group ride today and even though it was far colder than expected it was a blast. Starting in August I began to ride my old 1992 GT Avalanche around the neighborhood for exercise. A month later added a two year old in a trailer to the back of the bike and starting climbing the hills in my Southwest Austin neighborhood. My daughter became my coach with her yelling at me to go faster so I did. I bought a road bike on Nov 11th and started riding that as well, heading out the the Veloway and doing the same neighborhood route after work. After training on the road bike for about 230 miles, I tried my first group ride and wow. We went 40 miles round trip from downtown/west Austin to Creedmore and back again. I actually did not suck and spent most of the ride near the front. Now I'm kinda kicking myself because I could have been doing this years ago.
Bike forums Rocks! Its been a great help in helping me get my old mountain bike up and running and with buying my road bike.
And if you're in Austin this web site rocks: http://www.austinrides.org/ridedev/