(Part one of a planned series...)
As the Preacher says, there's nothing new under the sun, and it turns out I was not the first Houstonian to write about adventures on long walks and/or bike rides in the Bayou City.
More than 30 years prior to my first adventure (a 16-mile slog down Westheimer from West Oaks Mall to Bagby), Douglas Milburn and Eli Zal beat me to the punch with their 1975 booklet Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston. (Tom Richmond supplied the photos; he went on to Hollywood where he was director of photography for the films Stand and Deliver and A Midnight Clear, among others.)
In truth, my work and the Intrepid guide varied somewhat in approach. Zal and Milburn, a former Rice roommate of Larry McMurtry who went on to edit Houston City magazine and run the lysergic Magellan's Log blog), set out to write a guidebook, albeit one that aspires to literature. (I still don't know what the Sole of Houston series is, exactly.)
Zal and Milburn confined themselves to Montrose, downtown, the museums, the parks along Buffalo Bayou, Rice, Broadacres and Glenwood Cemetery.
After my first trek with Geoffrey Muller, David Beebe and I spent much more time scouring Houston's more touristically neglected roadways, though not ignoring our more famed and salubrious Inner Loop hoods.
By 1979, Zal had left his native Houston, and Milburn carried the torch alone with The Last American City: An Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston.