Pedaling and riding. Sound synonymous. But to me the two have some very different connotations.
Pedaling is using the bike to get from one place or another. Generally speaking, pedaling is focused on the destination. You are trying to get somewhere. In that regard the fact that it is done on a bicycle is pretty arbitrary – you could have accomplished the same goal using public transportation, a pair of sneakers, or (Gasp!) a car.
When riding, however, the destination is often completely arbitrary. Rather, it is the act of being on the bike that is the primary goal and motivation. Riding is what you are doing when you get the endorphins pumping. It is what you are doing when you are trying to get up that hill faster than ever before, or just trying to hang on the wheel of that faster group of cyclists. It is crossing yet another county line… to cross yet one more state line.