Hope this helps
Seems that the ex in the suburbs with my old bike has been slacking off in my absence since he hates riding alone and his girlfriend just won't get into it (hmm, now someone knows how I felt) and wants to know, would I like to get together sometime and ride with him? Well, the sticker on the helmet says "Bike Lane Hottie", not "Obnoxious Poorly Paved Suburban Sidepath to the Forest Preserve Parking Lot Hottie." But as a Bike Person on a mission to share the love with everyone (share the love, everyone), I guess I do feel obligated to tell him something other than "frack no," so this post is for him because I know he's been lurking around here somewhere.*
So anyway, if you're really that hesitant to head out by yourself, try to think of biking alone as like drinking alone: not as much fun, but a telltale sign that you know better than to put up with anybody's bullshit. You might also consider (re)joining the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation so that you can get (back) on all the mailing lists and stay in the loop about what's up where with who. If you'd rather not spend the money on membership dues because you (presumably still) already have your map, you can still sign up for the Bike Bulletin for free or check the event calendar for group rides. I just found the The Fox Valley Bicycle & Ski Club via the Leage of Illinois Bicyclists; I might contact them myself. And I would be quite surprised your employer didn't have a bike-related intranet page or mailing list or something given the number of bicyclists I saw yesterday. Good luck.
*For the last time, "So I was reading on your LJ/blog that..." is not an acceptable way to start a conversation.