This is a outline on equipment and experience that I have from commuting to and from work (5km). With variable terrain and mostly hot humid weather.
I love riding bikes and have 3 bikes I use all the time. 1. A road bike 2. A mountain bike (duel sus enduro) 3. A 29er that I use as a commuter / baby carrier.
There is a saying that the bike you need is the one that's most suited for what you are doing and how much money your willing to spend.
There's no point turning up to a road group ride with a beach cruiser.
The commute to and from work has shared path, road riding fairly short distance and hill climbing.
If the commute your planning is greater than 5km and mostly road riding I would suggest a flat bar commuter or road bike be the better option for speed and better road riding.
Step 2: My Bike...
The bike I use for commuting is a Fuji Tahoe 29er. It's oversized for me (for comfort)
To better adapt the bike for commuting I have fitted.
1. Large flat peddles ($30)
2. Rechargeable lights front light pedal nation ($50) rear light USB recharge ($10) back up rear pedal nation battery operated on backpack ($5)
3. Reflecting tape white and red.
4. Bull horn bar ends. I like them flat so I can rest my wrists on the bars.
5. A bike fit (on my other bikes) I have adapted the fit to this bike.
6. The rear rack is for a baby carrier I find the less things on a bike that add weight the better it is to ride. However if riding in wet weather I fit a rear bag to hold extra clothing, wet weather gear and strap on a front mud guard.
7. Road riding tyres. Swalbie hurricanes. Nice and fast but mtb tyres. They have a loose bead so be careful if you are going to fit these. Make sure you roll the tyres before full inflation to avoid pinching the inner tube between the rim and the tyre.
8. A bell under the seat because it's the law not because my voice would be better and louder.
To further adapt this bike for comfort I have inflated the recon shocks to allow full lock out while riding this allows minimal bounce for climbing.
Step 3: The Equipment...
I use a backpack to hold all my stuff for work and equipment for commuting.
1. The backpack. I bought this one off eBay ($30) it has a chest strap, waist strap and adjustable shoulder straps. This is important because you need a close hugging backpack to prevent movement of the backpack. The sides compress (again to prevent movement) and there is a clip for my bike lock. It also has Mollie loops to allow a second rear bike light. Multiple compartments are useful to seperate equipment, food, stationary ect this is good if you don't want your food smelling like sweat.
2. A plastic bag is useful to put wet clothing in or anything really.
3. Bike equipment and spares. 1. Portable pump. 2. Spare tube. 3. Patch kit. 4.tyre levers 5. C02 canisters and inflator. 6. Leatherman.
4. Sunglasses. (Eye protection)
5. Gloves. (Never underestimate how important your hands are)
7. Bike lock. I like the key ones better the combination ones are easier to break.
9. T shirt and socks ( I ride to work and change my shirt and sometimes my socks after work)
11. Water bottle not pictured but it holds water and it's a bottle.
12. Velcro pant straps. This is just hook and loop one side hook the other side loop cut to size and wraps around the bottom of my pants to stop it catching.
Step 4: The Experience...
I don't like arriving at work wet so to stop this happening I always check the weather usually by looking outside or at the forecast. Wet roads are also more dangerous and sliding into the side door of a taxi cab that's doing a illegal u turn is not reccomended.
Take your time... Leave enough time to commute with problems you can then not arrive pushed and rushed.
Learn how to fix your bike... Fixing a flat of Adjusting a derailleur is sometimes needed mid commute. This will also save you money.
Maintain your bike. Oil that chain I like t9 make sure you wipe off excess and don't get it on your brakes. clean your bike with diluted cleaner or it rots your bearings and lightly spray water. charge your batteries, replace your helmet every year and after a impact. Also get all those squeaks and noises investigated by a qualified bike mechanic.
check your tyre pressure. I like to inflate mine to 40psi. It's a personal thing just don't under or over inflate. Read what it says on the tyre wall if you need pointers. I use a floor pump to maintain pressure.
Check your tyres periodically for cuts and bumps.
Check your brakes before riding every time.
Oh have fun and enjoy the experience whatever the reasons your choosing to commute.