First of all, I want to thank my friends and family for their support and motivation throughout the entire process of getting CWU off the ground, and then helping me to get back in the saddle after an extended break for work. I especially owe a debt of gratitude to all of the people I've met along the road who have given me a ride when needed, helped me fix a flat, graciously provided me a hot meal or a place to sleep, and shared with me their time, stories and thoughts. Finally, I want to acknowledge others who have helped me in one way or another to bring CWU to fruition. It's a fairly random, growing and incomplete list, in no particular order:
Their website says it all: "Rails-to-Trails Conservancy transforms unused rail corridors into vibrant public places—ensuring a better future for America made possible by trails and the connections they inspire." The trails are usually really nice and safe alternatives to riding on the side of the road.
Ye olde boll weevil
I began pondering CWU in 2009 after graduating law school in the midst of a financial crisis. Like that old boll weevil did for cotton farmers in Enterprise, Alabama, this shock forced me to look at things in a new light, resulting in a radically different, more fulfilling direction than I otherwise might have taken had the standard, safe path still been available to me.
A fantastic resource maintained and promoted by a relatively small group of dedicated people. Wikipedia has consistently been a great starting point for research on a particular town or region. Wiki's mission is larger than just running Wikipedia-check it out!
City of Houston Planning and Development Department
Houston has really taken giant steps forward recently in terms of making the city more livable & bike-friendly. Parks are getting complete overhauls, bike paths installed, and we're updating the bike plan for the first time in something like 20 years.
Giants of America
This nation has been forged and shaped by us all, and CWU represents an exploration and celebration of that fact. But those who constructed America's political framework were truly giants and deserve special mention here. While recognizing and accepting their own often imperfect implementation of the American ideal, I deeply respect and have tried to learn from the men who risked their lives for a revolutionary, just and radically progressive concept, setting it into motion over 225 years ago. The most important pillar upon which we rest today is the dedication, work and sacrifice of the Founders.
Adventure Cycling Association
A nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of bicycle touring. Their website has lots of helpful info and their work has supported the development of safe long-distance routes that I'm sure to benefit from.
My planning for CWU would be almost impossible without constantly consulting the experience of others, shared through blogs and similar media (yes, even books!). I am still sometimes amazed at how the internet has exponentially increased our ability to learn from and share with one another.
This nonprofit is working to make Houston a better place for cyclists-great folks doing a great job. I've benefited from their work and have really enjoyed being part of the organization.
I feel like much of Google's work is motivated as much by a desire to make a great, innovative product as by profit-seeking. Google Maps, especially, is an amazing free tool and has been invaluable to me in my planning. I'm proud that Google is an American company. Good job, guys.
Giants of Americana
Sharing stories and observations of America is a tradition older than the country itself. Just a few of those from whom I have drawn inspiration: Steinbeck, Least Heat-Moon, Zinn, Leopold, Twain, Kurault, De Tocqueville, Turkel, This American Life, Lewis & Clark, Burns, McCullough.
Apparently, these animated flags were designed by someone named Dave Johnston, who then uploaded them to WikiMedia commons for free public use. I thought that was pretty cool.