Cycling is the unification of mind, body, and machine.
The bicycle, as a machine, will go where you point it. Want to go faster? Then pedal faster or harder. The mind coordinates the your body and the bicycle to effectively make them work as one.
Learning to ride a bicycle can be a challenge. Your mind senses five points of contact (one hand on each handlebar grip, one foot on each pedal, and one's bottom on the seat) on the bicycle. Couple this the motion of the pedals, terrain, cars, pedestrians, and you have 8+ variables to process while trying to maintain your balance and forward motion.
Racing bicycles is another challenge altogether. The toughest thing about being in the peloton is learning how to ride with others. Riding elbow to elbow with other riders, staying mere centimeters off of the wheel in front of you, and someone following you just as closely, there is little room for error. All while moving at high speeds and turning corners.
Over time, a new racer will develop the discipline, self-control, and awareness to ride in this fast moving pack. Understanding race strategy, tactics, and the finer points of working as a team will come later, but it all starts with simply spending time in the saddle.
The day to day repetition of preparing, going for, and finishing a ride are what's necessary to get the experience to develop the fitness required for competition, and to gain the experience of just simply being on the road dealing with the continually changing conditions. Racing favors people that can remain calm under pressure. The best racers are able to inject their spirit into their riding.
Over time the bicycle becomes an expression of the person using it. Where we go depends on what we want to do. Whether you are racing, commuting, or out for just a ride through your neighborhood, it can increase one's awareness and reach in the world.
People-powered technology has its limitations. One can only go as far as one's body and mind can take it. It's perfectly scaled for our use.