I guess it's the same in a lot of place, I live in Suburbia, 20 miles from work, but I can do it in 25 minutes with my car (~90% highway). With public transport? it's bus+train+bus and about 1h30... forget it.
I have a $5 eBay USB to IDE/SATA thinggy
I plugged my circa 1990 Seagate 40MB IDE PIO1 in it, it works fine.
A null parallell can also be used with a soft like Total Commander, they have a DOS version that can communicate fine with one running in Windows.