Hi and greetings from the Netherlands!
I was reading some of the posts in "Tips for new commuters" thread and couldn't help laughing
What a difference in biking culture: wear this, always carry that, that brand bike/messenger bag etc.
Here are some commuting tips from the country where just about everyone is born with a bicycle between his/her legs
Any 10-15 year old bike will be just fine. It should be not flashy/expensive or this will happen:
Maintenance. What maintenance? Yer ol' Batavus will cope with daily abuse just fine, squirt some WD40 or whatever happens to lie around when the creaking of the chain becomes too annoying and thats it, good enough for a decade or two.
Back wheel has six missing spokes? No problem, that badly overweight friend/girlfriend can still get a ride on the rack..
Special biking clothes? You got to be kidding! Your three piece suit/high heeled Prada's will do fine. Take it easy, don't work up sweat. That way you will be sitting at your office desk sooner than that spandex-wearing, aggressively riding fanatic who has to shower/change clothes first. Not to mention that taking it easy is also a lot safer.
Those cheap Cheng Shin tyres (or "tires" as you say) will grip just fine:
You are a smoker? Why not save time and have one while on the bike?
Need that special messenger bag/backpack for some shopping? Nope, plastic bags from the supermarket will do.