I started riding a bit back in my early 20's - it was a cheap way to get to Cal State and back. This was done informally - I had a rack on the back of my mountain bike, and would bungee my backpack to it.
A few years ago, I got back into riding, in an effort to save some money. This, combined with my wife working part time, I wanted to save some money and do something good for my health.
I started with a mountain bike that I had, adding bar-ends for some different hand positions. My budget was limited, so I purchased a set of Lone Peak panniers from The Touring Store, a Cateye combination tail light / reflector, and a Cateye LED headlight (both of these have since been replaced with more powerful units).
The first couple of weeks of riding were hard - it was about 6.5 miles from my house to work - but once I got used to it I found that I really enjoyed it. It was a good way to get some exercise, I arrived at work wide awake and ready to go, and I was saving a bunch of money on gas. Sweet...
During the more temperate months last year (including summertime) I commuted to work, but fell out of the habit while holidays and work obligations that required trips to Ventura conflicted. Now, it's kind of cold, so it has been difficult to motivate myself to get back into the swing.
Yesterday, I managed to do it. I rode to work and back (19 miles total) and, properly dressed, it wasn't bad at all. Sure, I got the "are you nuts?!?" looks from people I rode by, but who cares - everyone knows that I'm kind of crazy already. :)
Seriously, folks - this is a great way to (a) save money on gas, (b) improve your health without buying a bunch of expensive exercise equipment or a gym membership, and (c) incorporate exercise into your already over-scheduled life. Why not give it a try - I would be glad to personally answer any questions you might have (ie, how do I clean up at work if I don't have a shower, provide ideas on parking and securing my bike, etc.), or check with my friends over at Bike Bakersfield.