Photo by Richard Masoner/ Cyclelicious.

Today, America kicks off National Bike Month, our annual homage to two-wheeled travel. Here in Seattle, Grist’s hometown, every month can seem like bike month: Hearty souls ride in weather when full scuba gear is requisite. But today brought sunshine, and cyclists swarmed the streets, swerving through traffic, towing kiddie trailers through downtown rush hour, and generally acting like they owned the place.

It was great to see so many people out riding. I was also afraid I was going to see someone die. So for the sake of a safe and successful Bike Month, Grist is offering up a challenge to would-be bike commuters everywhere — and a few suggestions on how to get started.