I ran across this forum as I was looking for information on commuting. I live in bike unfriendly Gwinnett county, GA. And I am just starting to get back on two wheels after about 15 years for weight, attitude and blood sugar control.
I am interested in a figuring out a way to commute at least part of the way to work (24 miles). Of course the first thing to do is get at least some of my legs back.
As far as equipment is concerned, I have a 23 year old Lotus Excel, (boy has equipment changed in the last 20 years, both mine and the bike ) and an inexpensive Wally World, Huffy cheapy ATB, (Say what you will about discount store bikes, 18 speeds and aluminum crank and wheels for under $100. Not all that bad. Of course, we will have to see if the pedals last for more than a month or two). I had to put a set of toe clips on the Huffy in order to climb anything this weekend.
Welcome to the Forums, and congrats on your decision to commute by bike.
I toured and commuted on a HUFFY for 2 years before I could afford a better ride. The important thing to remember is why you are riding, and if the bug really bites, you'll want to get something a little more responsive and classy.
Most commuters, in your situation, drive part way and bike the rest; or use some form of public transportation for part of the ride. I don't know what the situation is there in GA, but I'm sure you'll arrange something compatible for needs. Good Luck!