Add me to the number who tap the shift lever a few times at each stop. I've only been riding a few months and find it hard to keep track of what gear I'm in, so I just keep pushing the lever down until I hear it 'clunk' into first.
I also tend to sit in first in traffic, just in case some maniac rear ends me... at least I have half a chance to get out of there if I see someone approaching too fast in my mirrors. Sometimes I'll pop it into neutral if I want to take a drink or something, but only if there is a car already behind me. I figure if someone hits the person behind, I'm not going to be able to see it in enough time to react anyway
As for your other half... maybe he needs to chill out a bit and enjoy riding at speeds other than breakneck. As long as you're going with the flow of traffic, you're doing fine (even if, like here, the flow of traffic is always 10mph+ over the limit
). If he really wants to go fast, suggest he takes a trip to the nearest track once in a while where he can go as fast as he likes without getting a ticket.