I'm from Brazil, but living in Montréal (Longueuil, to be more precise) for the last 9 months
I always rode bikes since I was 4. Started with a 16" folding back in 1975. In 1979 I got a 22" "5-speed" which I used until 1984 when every kid on the block got a BMX.
I got one on that christmas and became my commuter bike to school. I painted it flat back, upgraded the handlebar and the seat pole to aluminum ones and dropped some cool stickers. Unfortunately it was stolen in 87.
In 1989 I bought a really beaten up 10-speed with my first salary and used it to commute to work and university. First thing I did was changing the handlebar with an aluminum BMX one, which gave me a more comfortable ride, saved my hands from rearview mirrors and eliminated the old, completely rusted original handlebar, mummified with tons of electric black tape. It obviously couldn't take the beating an I got several sprokes broken, 3 ripped tires, and a fork broken.
I don't know how it was in other places, but the early 90's faced a MTB explosion in Brazil. It was impossible to find other bike style but MTBs and BMXs. My only choice to buy a tube was going to the fancy, imports store, where the tube was 10 times the price of the domestic equivalent (not a crappy domestic, the domestic Pirelli costed 1/10th of an imported Pirelli) You could imagine a the price of a 27" tire. By the time it was retired, the bike had the rear tire was moved front after being stitched (YES! I should have taken pictures at the time)
So in 94 I finally surrended to the MTB fever, and bough a 18 speed, but since at the time I was working 30km from home with no chance to go there by bike (Highways, bridges, none of them bike friendly) I decided to let the bike at my GF's place, which was close to the beach and we could ride together. Unfortunately it was stolen soon after
After that I got other priorities and didn't bother to buy another one. Also I wouldn't buy a bike that I coulnd't ride. And Rio is too dangerous and too hot to commute by bike.
Now that I'm in Montreal, I can ride safely from door to door. So I started my research on commuting by bike, and every time I googled about anything bike-related, I ended up here.
I didn't buy a bike yet, but I'm researching and I'm pretty sure you guys can share some useful info