I am an English teacher in Japan. I teach at three different high-schools in and around Iwakuni city in eastern Yamaguchi prefecture (little less than an hour train ride from Hiroshima). Before coming here I traveled almost exclusively by car. I lived in Minnesota, was frustrated by the lack of public transportation, and didn't own a bike (and was too darn lazy to do anything about it).
I live about 4 miles (approx 6.5km) from the school that I go to three times a week, about 13 miles (approx 21km) from one of my once a week schools, and about 25 miles (approx 40km) from the last one. I have been commuting to the closest school for about 7 months. I go regardless of the weather, though I don't bike when I'm sick. It's actually a lot more convenient than the trains and buses. I am currently thinking of adding the 21km away school as well. I need to plan a route and see if I can do it safely. I will probably continue to take the train to the farthest away one.
I have been really enjoying the independence from owning a car. I do all my grocery shopping and errands either on foot or by bike.
Speaking of my bike, right now I have an old three-speed bike with a rusty basket on the front (steering gets pretty exciting after I load it with groceries ). It also has a light powered by a generator on the wheel that has a nasty habit of engaging after I hit bumps or curbs.
I have no idea how it shifts. I can't see any gears, and... well, I don't know squat about bikes. So, I just chalk it up to some strange Japanese techno-magic.
I'm thinking about getting a new bike some in the months to come, but that's a subject for a different post.
That's about all out of me for now.
Oh, and feel free to call me Matt. I couldn't think of a username and wasn't sure how long I would use this site. I have been really impressed by the site so far. I think I'll stick around for a bit ^_^.