When I was a teenager in Texas, it was pretty much considered a given that when you turned 16 you started driving. My parents weren't going to give me a car, so that meant I had to buy my own. I can remember complaining that I needed a car to get to my job, but that all of my money was going towards supporting the car (actually, being in Texas it was a pickup truck).
Fast-forward many years. I ended up in San Francisco after having escaped Texas and living in Colorado for a decade. I had stepped off the career track and was underemployed. First I got rid of the car. Then I got rid of the motorcycle. It was great getting around only by bike. (Not to mention inexpensive). But then I got the chance to make some real money although the new job was 25 miles away. At first I tried to take the train. I would ride my bike to the train station, take the train, then ride the rest of the way to work. The total commute time each day was about 3 hours. That was bad enough, but the train wasn't very bike friendly. You could only put your bike on one designated car and it was always full. On the way to work this wasn't a problem because I was starting at the first station, but several times on the way home I wasn't allowed to get on the train and had to wait another 45 minutes for the next train.
So what did I end up doing? I bought a motorcycle. Now my commute time is less than half what it was and because lane splitting is legal here I don't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic. It's nice having a motorcycle again, but I would never own one just for fun. The downside is that buying it has negated the extra income for awhile. For the first 3 or 4 months I am basically working just to pay for the transportation I needed to get to work.
One of the more perverse aspects of American life is this - the one place that it is easy to get around by bicycle, dense urban areas like San Francisco, have fewer job opportunities than the surrounding suburbs. In my case, my training is as an engineer and there are very few engineering jobs in SF but lots of them spread all over the Bay Area. It's the same in Denver, Colorado. And Dallas, Texas. I'm pretty sure that's true all over this country.