I've been following bike forums occasionally for a few years and finally decided to join. Other people posts helped me more than anything else in picking my bike two years ago - Giant FCR 2. It is a hybrid with road bike frame with flat bars, comfortable 700x35 tires...
Due to humidity in Houston and extreme laziness I did not ride a lot, but I finally started to be more active.
Before coming to Houston, I averaged 45' a day commuting in Serbia. It was very safe over there in Europe since car drivers are paying attention to bikers, unlike here where you need special trail just to be safe.
I tried commuting here 10 years ago, but they hit me twice, no injuries but not good anyway..