Hello from Syracuse in Central New York... I'm Chris. I'm 30. I moved here a year and a half ago from Brooklyn, NYC. I grew up on Long Island.
While I was growing up, my bicycle (a no-name steel 10 speed which is still in my parents' garage) was my freedom. I was a loner, and the bike went everywhere. When I approached driving age, people started looking at me weird for taking the bus, train and bike everywhere. Sadly, I was convinced to get my drivers' license.
I'm slowly trying to get back into daily riding to work. I got myself a Dahon Speed D7, because it looked neat, and it was a vast improvement over the 44-pound Target-special Schwinn MTB I got for $115. (Hey, it's better than driving a car.) But now I'm dying for something with drops so I can get over this damn wind! I'm already having trouble with the stock pedals on the Dahon. But, yeah, they're stock pedals! I'm looking at the Specialized Sequoia now... my budget is tight. I just wish there were a bigger selection of good "tourmuting" (touring/commuting, get it?) bikes. Something built for the road, but with fenders, racks, etc.
Anyway, both LBS around here are Specialized dealers, so that's prolly the way I'll go with that. I'd really like something with a good steel frame and passable components that I can upgrade over the next 15 years.
My commute is about 8 miles each way from Tipperary Hill to East Syracuse. I take Erie Blvd W into downtown, over to Water Street, which is for the most part forgotten by cars. Then I hop Beech Street north under the 690, and take Burnet Avenue into East Syracuse. I finish the ride up Kinne Street. The worst part of the ride is Burnet Avenue as far as traffic goes, but it seems they're going slow enough that it doesn't bother me.
Anyway, if others from Syracuse, NY are around and want to share tips, etc., please do!