I think 15 miles might be a bit too far, especially if you haven’t ridden a bike very much. You might want to think of, oh, I dunno, catching a bus somewhere and then biking the rest of the way? I bike to the train stop everyday, sometimes all the way into town, but that’s if I have enough time. I can go about let’s see, err, 10? miles without getting tired, but it takes me about an hour to go 6-8 miles…sorry for the uncertainty, doing calculations in my mind. Km you know. If you live in a hot place, you have to think of packing a handkerchief and such, 'cause you don’t want to arrive at work all messy.
So it might be tough, I guess it depends on how much traffic you think you’ll meet and what kind of roads you’ll have to use. You usually can’t just think of going the same way you always do, because a lot of games, its not suitable for a bike, right? So it could be shorter or longer depending on that. I always like to the option on your cellphone that nixes highways and such when you ask for directions or a map, so I can get bike-suitable routes and I find that makes for a great way to find and experiment with routes.
I really love riding my bike though, I wouldn’t have any other way. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a car. Once you start, I find you start missing getting on your bike for a ride even when you don’t have to somewhere, so you just casually go on a little ride. I live right next to a very large span of rice paddies that goes into a mountain town and a large forest shrine (I don’t like biking in the shrine though, because there are huge spiders in the middle of the road that drop on passersby).
As for a bike, I don’t know about all that professional stuff, as usually American bikes have all those speed settings on the handles and stuff. But for me I always check three things:
Is the light generator pretty easily charged so I don’t have to go real fast and can just relax and still have a headlight?
Is the basket a good side so if you make sudden turns and such you don’t bang up your hands on its wires? One never knows when one will get an urge for food or groceries, so its important to have the bike’s balance preserved.
Is there a proper place for someone to sit on the back? I don’t like the ones with just little nubs for somebody to stand on.
I usually just pay $40 to $80 for my bikes (stealing, you know, gotta replace them) so I wouldn’t know about all that fancy upper-echelon stuff.
Good luck though! Bikes kick ass!