Learning or not learning, that is a matter

Not learning
Cycling is a forgiving sport. Most errors are happely enough without severe consequences. But there is also a downside: there is relatively little learned. Because it usually ends well you don’t learn to improve on those points.
You estimate your fellowriders sometimes incorrectly. People can sit perfectly on a beautiful bike, ride hard and even ride races, but that does mean necessaraly that they ride safe in groups on public roads. For instance before you ride close in someones wheel you want to know if he goes around a puddle or ride a straight line through it. In short, for cycling in groups you do not have to learn a lot, but there is much to learn. By going into a training group, and by learning from the (near) accidents and mistakes. Thoughts like “Bad luck, these things happen” may be correct, but they also stop thinking: you deprive yourself to learning. Analyzing a (near) accident almost always indicates that there is not one mistake, but that there was a chain of less good actions and reactions. The interesting question is not so much “Who is guilty?”, but “What could you have done to stop that chain?” That way, you improve yourself.
Make it a habit to talk with each other about situations that technically could have been handeld better.

Unconsciously (not) learning
Many movements you learn unconsciously. Running for example. Or rather, your body learns that movement. For ‘you’ there is not much to do. Put on your running shoes a lot of time and run is sufficient. Other sports, such as soeedskating you learn faster by learning consciously. Cycling is between running and skating in.
In the Netherlands everybody learn unconsciously how to ride a bike. First with assistance wheels and a hand in the back. No explanation of gyrospie, but just hop and do. And then: “Look mummy, with no hands!!” And then you can ride a bike.
In cycling we turn put a lot of hours in riding the straights. In cornering we put much less hours. In a curve almost everyone hold his legs still where you can go on peddeling.
video (to make even)
In the unconscious learning ther was no incentive to keep on peddeling. The same goes for cycling in the mountains. You drive 6 hours uphill and 1 hour downhill. How many minutes of them are really decending? Very little. The road, the traffic is not suited. You may like to recover a bit in the decent.
In cycling in groups on public roads skills are needed which you don’t have learned unconsciously.

Or (consciously) learning
Individually, you can learn many basic skills. Under good conditions you practice these so your reflexes do the right thing when it is unexpectedly more complicated.
See also: Basic skills

The specific skills for driving in groups you may well learn from an experienced rider in a group training or in races on a closed circuit.
In informal groups, we need to learn from learning. Giving and receiving feedback do the trick.

That is not always easy, especially in the “heat of the moment.” In ‘Communication and collaboration’ you will find suggestions to do so.
See: Communication and cooperation / coaching