I came out for exercise, gentle exercise, and to notice the scenery and to botanise. And no sooner do I get on that accursed machine than off I go hammer and tongs; I never look to right or left, never notice a flower, never see a view - get hot, juicy, red - like a grilled chop. Get me on that machine and I have to go. I go scorching along the road, and cursing aloud at myself for doing it.- H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance

This Texas boy just had the opportunity to ride a 35 mile loop in Anchorage, AK that went out through town and came back along the shore. Rode by a number of moose, a beaver and other assorted wildlife. Highly recommend it if anyone gets the opportunity (http://alaska-bike-rentals.com/).
I have owned a bike for most of my 45 years. Mostly something cheap to just get me out of the house. Rode a 150 mile week-end ride with two buddies at age 30 on $99 Sears ten-speeds. At age 40 began feeling my mortality, wanting and needing more from my rides. I upgraded slightly to a Trek 800 hybrid last year. I put road tires on it and ride pavement in the spring and summer, then set it up for mb in the fall and winter. The miles are not as important as the fresh air but try to get 10day/50week every week.
Being a little introverted, I ride alone most of the time, and use the opportunity to solve the world's problems.
Lately have had the "urge" to move up to a straight road bike. Looking at Trek 1200 or maybe next step up. The only thing I compete against is how fast I did it last time or how good/bad I feel today. Who knows...might actually ride with a group one day.