I was a bicyclist before arriving in the bay area.
I've biked from Boston to Cape Cod. I've biked all over Washington DC and done that biking at all hours. I've commuted from Washington DC to Bethesda, MD and from Sunderland, MA to Northampton, MA. I rode a very few suburban streets during the dark eighteen months I spent in Maine. I had never biked with another bicyclist before California, though, that's new. I didn't race outside of pedaling fast to try and get around the guy in front of me and I didn't have any fancy tricks.
My experiences bicycling with someone else may not exactly mimic the average as my riding partner is a Contraption Captain. He's such a Contraption Captain that if you look the term up in the Bicyclist's Only Manual* you will find a picture of him next to the definition. What I mean is that when the guy isn't welding foot pedals onto the back of his bike's frame for the kid's to stand on he's fitting nine foot wheels onto the giant dicycle in the backyard.
Captain C's current ride is a giant Tour Easy recumbent with a great big faring. My ride is a pretty (I think) Trek 2.1 with a tasteful (imo) paint job. It's a GIRL bike which I kindof loathe the idea of but what it amounts to is the frame and brakes and gears are sized for someone like me, which means it is big enough (I am 5'7") and fast enough (I like to kick roady ass as much as the next girl) and yet certain components (brakes) are better for someone who has smaller hands.
What it's like when we ride together: he is very fast downhill and I am faster uphill. He takes off like a goddamned bat out of hell when a red light turns green and I stay the course somewhat better.
What this comes out to on longer rides: we don't see much of each other. He's doing ninety mph and screaming with joy on the downhill while I cower along behind riding my brakes and on the uphill I'm growling at the heavens and beating along at a good clip while he appears to be in an armchair flipping through magazines at 4mph.
Still, we make it work. For one thing the part of our commute that is shared is flat. For another we like each other's company very much. We are the two happy bicyclists. Other things that make it work: he no longer sidles up behind me and touches his front tire to my rear tire making me scream. Stuff I no longer mind: he can ride really close to me, my shy zone has gotten smaller. We can really swing along almost on top of each other so that we can catch up on the days goings on. Once or twice we even held hands a little.
It's good to be a bicyclist.
* you don't have a copy