Weather and time dependent, I either ride straight to work or take longer routes. The route varies most days. On cold or wet days I take small dirt roads, farm paths and trails to work. Other days I ride small roads through the surrounding villages, or any combination of roads, trails, farm paths and dirt road.
I've commuted in Panama, Japan and now Germany. I often carry a bike when I travel and use the bike for commuting when travelling. There is no better way to get to work than riding a bike, it's simply fun. I never went out of my way to drive extra distance in car commutes, but do almost every day on bike.
I love seeing critters on the way to and from work. I see some kind of critter almost every day I mountain bike, but almost never see them when I road ride. It's surprising how people who drive to work think there is no wildlife around, simply because they don't see it.
I recommend two items for commuting. First are full fenders with mud extensions on the front. The extensions need to go almost all the way to the ground. They don't look good, but they keep water and crud off your feet and drivetrain. Second is a good quality generator for night commuting. I used to mess around with batteries, but they're a hassle. I finally tried a Schmidt generator, which is a generator built into a front wheel hub. It works great, is smooth, quiet and you can't feel the mechanical load. I'd like more power, but find the light to be quite sufficient for any riding except singletrack. The best thing is you never need to worry about forgetting to charge your battery.