Santa Barbara has a great network of bicycle paths and I am able to take them for almost my entire commute. It is a few miles longer than taking the street, but well worth it and it doesn't take much longer because there are fewer stops.
I started riding to get from my family home in Oakland to college at UC Berkeley in 1978. It was faster and more convenient than driving because of traffic and parking congestion. Now I ride for the environment and health.
I am very pleased that companies are starting to stop just pushing Mountain bikes and are trying to sell bikes for transportation. I have researched quite a few: http://members.101freeway.com/davidm/MyWebsite/commuter_bicycles.htm