Well, before I started in the whole triathlon thing, there was just the bike.
When I lived in NZ I did a bit of mountain biking, and rode primarily to get around and for a bit of fitness/fun.
When I moved to the USA (Davis, California) I started in with the local club, the Davis Bike Club. Being away from the hills in the Central Valley, it was a road cycling club with racing and touring arms. I started doing some into -level rides, and the club was welcoming and inclusive.
We did Sunday rides to bakeries, pankake parlours, cafes, ice cream places, waffle houses etc. Good stuff! Slowly but surely I did longer and longer rides, and eventually started doing century (100mile) and double century (200mi) events. I even did one multi-day event through Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Oregon. There were weekend events, long single day rides, alone, with the group, and even the odd winery crawl through Napa Valley!
In 2004, I even cracked the Thousand Mile Club – by doing 5 eligible double century rides in the season.
The events I did (as I can recall now, in 2014) were:
Foxy’s Fall Century (Davis)
Sierra Fall Century (double metric, so 200km = 120mile)
Death Valley Century (north route, Death Valley)
Bike around the Butte (northern California)
Grizzly Century (SF Bay area)
Wildflower Century (northern Cal)
Desperado Dual (Utah)
Davis DC (Davis area)
Hemet DC (LA area)
Mt Tam DC (San Francisco area)
Grand Tour (LA area)
Death Valley DC (south route, Death Valley)
Knoxville Fall Classic DC (northern California)