I think there is a certain kind of kinship that develops between people when they suffer together and I think that this is one thing that brings riders together. If you have ever raced, for the most part the people that you are competing against will be the first ones to help you if you need it because we're all suffering together. It's not so much a case of rider against rider, but more of humans against the world. Unfortunately this isn't always the case, since there are some people out there that think that the only thing that matters is their mid-pack finish in some obscure race or Gran Fondo. Those people miss out on the best part of riding, the friends.
I have the distinct pleasure of still being friends with the guy who first got me into BMX riding more than 20 years ago, Mike Lawless. Literally, his front brake endo altered the course of my life. Now that we're both old(er), we're still chasing each other on the trails, but we're on mountain bikes instead of BMX bikes... the bikes have changed, but the friendship hasn't.
Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in who has the lightest bike or the lowest body fat or even the most race trophies, but you can't measure the benefits of cycling with material things, you measure it by all the names contact list under "B" for "Bikers."