Tried a group ride with a local club yesterday, my prior group rides being of the family variety some 20+ years ago. This was a no-drop 34 mile ride over rolling terrain (one short hill with 15% grade) at a 12-14 mph pace. Started at 10 am so by the time the ride ended it was at least 70 degrees. This was a gorgeous ride in/around some (dry) reservoirs in the Morgan Hill, CA area. Two lane country-ish roads with not too much traffic and no trucks!
Would definitely do one of this rides every 2-3 weeks just to meet people in this cycling club I've joined, but these rides definitely take more time than a solo ride especially with driving to the starting location and waiting for folks who aren't ready at the start time. On the other hand I was introduced to some very nice back roads.
Range of equipment from mountain bikes to Kleins in the hands of what I assume were really good cyclists which reminds me of the only thing about running that i liked better than cycling. All the years I ran we never talked about running equipment making us faster. New shoes to cushion our tootsies, better materials to keep use dry, but never a new pair of shoes to beat out the next guy. Driving a flashy car in traffic is an impersonal means of showing off, but unless someone is racing for dollars do you really need to impress someone in what is at least somewhat a social atmosphere? I say put some meat on your bones and that 3-4 lbs that cost $2000 won't seem like such a good deal. On the other hand I bought a Garmin 705 'cause even at my advanced age I've still got a bit of geek in me. Afterall, how else would I find out that my HR hit 156 on that steep hill - was definitely too busy pedaling to look at my cyclometer.