If you look at most cycling blogs today, the discourse tends to stress the social aspects of riding a bicycle. Cycling is presented as an activity that fosters a sense of community- with an emphasis on interaction with other cyclists, neighborhood initiatives, various workshops and co-ops, group rides, community action programmes, and city or state-wide coalitions.
I find this interesting to observe, because to me the bicycle has always been a symbol of solitude - something that brings complete independence and freedom. When I think of "riding a bicycle," I imagine cycling for miles and miles through changing landscapes, alone with my thoughts and at peace with the world; a meditation of sorts. But I can certainly understand that others imagine group rides, bike workshops, and other social activities - they see the bicycle as a shared interest that makes it easy to connect to others.
Often I am asked why I do not participate in group rides, and the reason is simply that for me socialising and cycling are two distinct activities that are best enjoyed separately. It makes me nervous to chat while trying to navigate traffic, so I fully enjoy neither the discussion nor the ride. I also feel that group rides - even slow ones - are more hazardous than cycling alone, because you have to watch out not only for traffic, but for the wheels of other cyclists; I know probably a half dozen people whose only cycling accidents happened during group rides. I can cycle pretty happily with one person at a time (though it depends on their style), but beyond that it starts to get stressful.
This is not to say that I am "against" the socially-oriented portrayal of cycling. I just don't think that the bicycle = community association is universally applicable. And after all, it is rather fascinating that the bicycle can be a symbol of two diametrically opposite things: the social and the solitary.