Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cassell Cause of Deadly Crash Under Investigation

Contrary to mainstream news reports, officers at the Greenburgh police department did not blame Cassell for his crash with the Westchester Bee Line bus on November 6.

The crash that killed Merrill Cassell, 66, of Elmsford, NY is still under investigation said Captain Joseph DeCarlo of the Greenburgh Police Dept.

For that reason he said, they still have not determined what was the cause of Cassell's death, and perhaps if the driver of the bus was careless when he came around him on Route 119 going east. The incident occurred at the intersection of Tarrytown Road and Aqueduct Road, at about 3:30 p.m., not during rush hour said the Captain.

He also noted that the weather was clear and there was good visibility at that time.

Route 119 has four lanes, two in each direction. The roadway is bordered with parked cars, and businesses, and there is no bike lane on either side of the lane.

There also is no extra space, requiring that motorists traveling in the right hand side--as the Bee-Line bus was--must move out into the other lane in order to pass a cyclist.

Capt. DeCarlo ruled out the state of the road and whether a rock or potholes was a factor, or anything else suggesting that it was Cassell who lost control and not the driver who made an error---as some of the media have suggested. "It is still under investigation," he noted, saying that they had not made a determination in either direction.

The Greenburgh Police will also be interviewing passengers who were on the bus, and seeking other witnesses who may have seen what happened.

"Something happened that caused him to fall," said Capt. DeCarlo. But determining what that was, "is part of the ongoing investigation."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Elmsford Cyclist Put to Rest Today: Merrill Cassell

Taught 10,000 children how to swim in Sri Lanka.

Accompanied by more than 20 cyclists and heartbroken relatives, slain cyclist Merrill Cassell, 66, was taken to his final resting place today.

Bikes lay on the ground at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale (Photo: Jen Benepe (C)).

It was cold and comfortless, raining and bitter, but Cassell's family came from around the country and across the world to say good bye.

Sobbing uncontrollably, Cassell's sister Erin who had traveled from Sri Lanka to bid good-bye appeared devastated and beyond words.

"I lost my brother," she choked between tears, outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Main Street as she left the 10:30 am services.

Erin, sister of Cassell flanked by another sister Winnie Rodriguez and a niece of the fallen cyclist, outside the Church of Our Lady of Carmel. (Jen Benepe)

She spoke long enough to murmur a few words about losing her own brother to his bicycle, and burst into tears again.

Behind her, Cassell's wife of more than 40 years, Maximilla Cassell, wailed with grief, and was supported by relatives as she walked to a car that would follow her husband for the first and last time to Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale.

It was the same wife that had greeted Cassell after his many triumphant finishes in Central Park of the New York City Marathon. And now she was bidding him farewell because of the sport he loved so much.

Cassell's funeral at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale.  His coffin flanked by close family. (Jen Benepe)

Cassell was struck and killed by a Westchester Bee-Line bus last Friday, October 6 on Route 119 in Greenburgh, NY during the late afternoon rush hour.

Greenburgh police Capt, Joseph DeCarlo said Cassell was riding alongside the bus, heading east when he was hit by the bus, and crushed by it.

Paul Feiner, Town of Greenburgh Supervisor knew Cassell and is organizing a Town Hall Meeting in December to discuss improving cycling safety. (Jen Benepe)

As is typical in many news reports, the Lower Hudson paper described Cassell's crash in words that could be described as blaming the victim, agreed some cyclists because it said "Cassell collided with the side of the bus and fell under it," and, "Police are still investigating what made him fall." It was not clear if these were the words of the reporter or the police, since no quotation was provided.

Why had the reporter not written "The bus collided with Cassell and caused him to fall," or, "The bus hit Cassell as it came around him. It is not clear if the driver swerved too quickly or didn't see the cyclist because he was in a hurry." This is the more likely scenario said several cyclists we interviewed today.

Reporters and police often blame cyclists because the rule of the road has long held that motorists--and the cars they drive--are king--and dead cyclists cannot speak for themselves. Often the only witness --as in this case--is the driver who killed them and has an incentive to doctor the truth.
Jen Laurita and Cyrus Afzali came to show their respect. (Jen Benepe)

And as with other accidents, like that of Jessica Purcell who was derided by bus travelers as she lay bleeding and unconscious on the ground this past summer, often non-riders denigrate cyclists for their sport, possibly because the two-wheelers are in the habit of constantly reminding drivers that the roads are not made exclusively for cars.

And so without the ability to tell his own story, it appears another fallen cyclist has been blamed for his own death.

Incomprehensibly so, because Cassell owned six or seven bikes and was a very experienced rider, said fellow cyclists who attended the funeral and rode the bitter and cold five miles in front of the hearse holding Cassell's body to the cemetery.

Pic: David Wilson talks to cyclists before they ride to the cemetery behind Cassell's hearse. (Jen Benepe)

When news of Cassell's death hit the newspapers, some people who wrote into the paper by email made comments that would curl any reasonable person's nails, much less inspire others to hatred and violence.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner who called Cassell's death "tragic and horrible," also described the comments of some readers as "despicable, terrible and disgusting."

Feiner attended the funeral and rode in the bike procession today, and plans a town hall meeting on December 9 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss how the town can improve cycling safety.

Some of the comments to the LoHud article (you need to be registered to read them,) ranged from the truly ignorant to the grossly insane. Take for example this man who wrote:  "66 YEARS OLD AND STILL FOOLING AROUND WITH A BICYCLE!!!??? THIS JERK NEVER GREW UP, AND NOW HE NEVER WILL!!! GOOD RIDDANCE!!! ONE LESS PEST ON THE ROAD!!! AND 2 THINGS: I HOPE THAT THE BUS IS OK, AND BAN BICYCLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Still, two cyclists who attended the funeral said they thought reporting of Cassell's incident (not some comments by readers) had been fair. Liam Allen, 27 of Yorktown who began cycling about a year ago said he had read many of the news reports and found them balanced.
His friend Rory Salsh, also 27 said some of the riding in the area was dangerous, and that some roads posed more dangers than others such as the presence of pot holes.  But both riders said they thought drivers often rush home from work, use their cellphones while driving, and often don't pay attention. "Truthfully it is not a shocker because the roads are dangerous," said Allen.

Loading Cassell into the hearse. His last ride. (Jen Benepe)

Feiner praised Cassell for his involvement in cycling issues in the area: "Merrill was not careless, he was very methodical," he noted.

Feiner also said Cassell was a "very decent person, and very unassuming," even as he helped raised awareness and work on cycling advocacy issues.

David Wilson, president of the Westchester Cycling Club who organized the ride described Cassell as a wonderful person, an environmentalist, and "a very, very good rider."

A friend of Cassell's quietly stood at the edge of the funeral proceedings holding a red rose. (Jen Benepe)

The driver of the bus was not arrested and was allowed to go home after the crash. Reports say he was not using the telephone or drunk. But it is not clear if passengers in the bus saw Cassell or the accident and might have a different story to tell.

The accident is still under investigation by the Greenburgh Police Department.

Bicycle accidents are not unusual in this area. In 2003, while working with the New York Bicycling Coalition, a statewide cycling advocacy group, BBB attended several meetings to help make cycling safer in Greenburgh and Elmsford. Several roads were targeted for improvement including Routes 100 and 119 where Cassell was killed. BBB even made presentations in two of the local schools for safer cycling.

It is not clear is any of the recommendations made by NYBC were implemented by the New York State Department of Transportation. At the time of publication, emails to then NYBC's director Jesse Day for clarification have not been returned.

Melanie, granddaughter of Cassell playing with a dog at the funeral. (Jen Benepe)

Another cyclist from the area, Lorraine Valentini of Hartsdale and a member of the Westchester Bicycle Club suffered a terrible accident on Route 22 in June 2005. She broke her neck and became a paraplegic from her injuries: she died this July.

Route 22 was another road that was identified by cyclists as being a problematic road, and those comments and suggestions for improvements were also made to the state DOT. It is not clear if the cause of Valentini's accident and the road issues were consistent.

Cassell was originally from Sri Lanka and was a retired budget director for UNICEF. But he also spent a lot of time working on helping make roads safer for cyclists in the area, said Wilson.

Back in his country he was well known for having trained more than 10,000 children to swim, said his niece Delano Cassell as she stood with her brother Frank nearby the gravesite, her eyes red from crying.

Cassell pictured right in an undated photo was an avid cyclist. Source: Cassell's blog.

Many people from his work at the United Nations came to pay their respects, and family members were numerous. Cassell's daughter, Tania, put the last rose on his casket before it was lowered into the ground.

The grandfather and cyclist was also a marathon runner, and his blog shows many happy photos of him coming in at the finish line with his wife Maximilia greeting him.

In 2008, Cassell won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sri Lanka Consulate in the US for his role in teaching poor Sri Lankan children to swim in the 1960's. His photos show a youthful, robust man in his prime.  The excerpt below is from his blog.

Cassell after an undated finish of the NYC Marathon, with his wife, Maximilla.  Source: Cassell's blog.

On Saturday August 8, 2008, the same day the Olympics started in Beijing, the Sri Lanka Consulate in the USA in conjunction with the Sri Lanka Association of New York, awarded me a life-time achievement award (please see picture below).  A good citizen by the name of Jay Liyanage, a sportsman himself in his youth, took the initiative to recognize my achievements in swimming in the early to mid 1960s, where I organized Learn-to-Swim campaigns in Sri Lanka teaching more than 10,000 poor village children in the finer art of swimming.  If I changed the bias that poor village children cannot swim, I am sure Cullen Jones will succeed in changing the bias in the USA that blacks can't swim......
The award was presented in Denville, New Jersey, USA by Congressman Rodney Frelingheusen . The mayor of Denville has declared one day in August as the Sri Lanka Sports Day.  

Below, Cassell this past winter riding in the snow. He frequently rode in the snow according to his blog. The entry below is what he wrote in his blog to accompany this photo:

"Bicycling in the snow, winter 2009"
"In 1997 I traded the second car we owned for a bicycle and never felt the need to get another car. I have spent the past decade transforming other people to get fit by bicycling, swimming or walking/running.  I have been a long distance swimmer, long distance runner and lately a long-distance bicyclist.  However, my long distance bicycling is long for my age and environment and is no comparison to the extraordinary long distance riders.  If a 70-100 mile bicycle ride is not long for a 66-year old, then what is long?  I cycle in all seasons of the year and hope to try out snow bicycling with snow-studded tires soon and some adventure rides (basically not knowing what is on the other side)."

Pic: Cassell after a long ride in Westchester in April 2007. This is what he said about the ride on his blog:

Westchester, New York
After personal best on the North County Bicycle trail - 33 miles in 2 hours 22 minutes riding as recent as April 28, 2007. Previous times ranged from 2 hours 40 minutes to 3 hours some times. This was an unusual day. On July 11, 2009, I rode the same 33 miles in 2 hours 19 minutes on my new Trek Madone 5.2.

Cassell leaves his wife, Maximilla, a daughter, Tania, and two grandchildren.

Monday, November 09, 2009

One Year Ago: Camille Savoy was Struck by a Driver

Today it is November 9, 2009, exactly one year since Camille Savoy was struck by an automobile on Route 9W near Alpine, NJ.

t was a clear day--a Sunday to be exact, wet leaves were on the ground.

But the sun was shining and visibility was excellent. As Savoy came close to passing the turnoff to Indian Head, a private road, Wha S. Kim 72, of Englewood, NJ, wandered over the fog line into the shoulder by one and a half feet and struck him with such force, Savoy's bike was broken in two.

His head also was broken, injuries that he never survived:  on November 26, 2008, Savoy died from complications related to severe head injuries. It was a Thanksgiving that his friends and family would never forget for the rest of their lives.

In many cases there is no justice for cyclists, because they are not capable of testifying about the exact circumstances of the accident because they are either too injured--or dead.

The police incident report stated, "Cyclist was unable to give statement."  Kim was acquitted of careless driving this year, despite conclusive testimony by the Bergen County Prosecutor's office showing that she had broken the law, and wandered into the shoulder. 

Kim wasn't even required to speak for herself in court--her self-saving statement given the day of the accident was enough for Judge Robert Ritter to let her walk away.

Savoy's friends and family were devastated the day he died, and attended the December 7 memorial held for him by over 100 cyclists who rode through snowfall on a freezing day from Fort Lee, NJ, to the spot where he was struck.

Today, we publish a statement from one of Savoy's good friends, Jeannette Newman who was there on December 7.

As the anniversary of Camille's fatal accident approaches (November 9), many of us will struggle to hold onto all the positive memories that we have of him, and not become overwhelmed with sorrow and anger.

Camille brought great joy to my life, for that I am very grateful. I periodically look at your blog and continue to appreciate your voice. You were a source of information during a very devastating time and I appreciate your continued efforts to speak out for those, like Camille, who love cycling.

Every time I pass a cyclist (much more carefully now) in my car, I think of the senselessness of his death.
And thankfully, especially when I laugh heartily, I think of him more often in life - his great humor, his generosity, his integrity. He continues to occupy a very special and large place in the hearts of many of us who knew him. I am touched that even many who didn't know him leave flowers and trees and messages at the ghost bike dedicated to him. He is a part of the good that is in all of us.

Thank you Jeannette.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Doctor Found Guilty of Ramming Cyclists off Road

The news has been out all day, so many of you  may already know this.

The California based doctor who was tried for intentionally running two cyclists off the road in Los Angeles, CA, was found guilty today of mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon.

The 60-year-old emergency room doctor, Christopher Thompson, had admitted to police that he was trying to teach the two a lesson when he pulled in front of them and slammed on the brakes.

One of the two cyclists, Ron Peterson, 41,  went into his back window, and the other, Christian Stoehr, 30, crashed into the street, separating his shoulder.  The incident occurred on Mandeville Canyon Road on July 4, 2008.

The officer who came to the scene of the accident is said to have never before in his many years on the force to hear such a bad case of road rage.

Thompson faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 3.

The LA Times  sheds light on both sides of the story. Thompson said he could not get by the group of cyclists, but the cyclists said as they tried to single file, he came around too fast. Thompson said the cyclists cursed at him and gave him the finger, and he decided to stop the car to take a picture.

But other cyclists had had run-ins with the doctor before on the same road, and he had also stopped short in front of them.

Peterson was permanently scared by his injuries after going through the glass, and Stoehr lost a lot of time from work. But Stoehr is quoted as saying he felt sorry for Thompson as he was being led away in handcuffs.

Stories in the press,0,761131.story

Monday, November 02, 2009

And Now for Something Disgusting (Amid all the Good News, Lance Back in Piermont For A Scone)

A tag is circulating around Facebook for a young cyclist Ashleigh Jackson, 24, who was struck and severely injured by a hit and run driver earlier this year.

The crash occurred on April 19, 2009 in Saratoga, CA. Her boyfriend David Nelson said that a silver BMW passed and struck Jackson in the back of the head, throwing her to the ground. She suffered brain trauma.

Oh and did I mention there is an $11,000 reward for information leading to this deadbeat driver's identification and arrest?

The accident occurred on Highway 9 and Fruitdale Avenue, according to the flyer. Jackson is a member of the Alto Velo Cycling team.

Apparently Ashleigh is better and even riding again as of this posting, but if you have any information about the hit and run driver, please contact the Saratoga Police Dept.

Okay I know it is nowhere NEAR New York or New Jersey but maybe you have a cousin in California? I know I do, and this is one way to let drivers know that their actions will not be forgotten. (Maybe that's why they always seem to be so angry?)

And Now the Good News:

Maybe Armstrong was feeling in a better mood today, because he rode up the Palisades again, this time stopping at Bunberry's in Piermont to talk to all the gawkers and starstruck, among them Raffe, Wilson Vasquez, and Richard Benfield.

I guess Armstrong kind of made up to Benfield who was with me last night when the gatekeepers at the Livestrong auction wouldn't let us in to do some reporting. He not only gave him an autograph, but he also chatted about his ride. Just another guy! Hey, I hope we don't get used to this!

Benfield reports that Armstrong "looks great, as good as a movie star." Hey, that is a good vote of confidence. Gone are the gaunt looks of the TDF, thank God.

PHOTO: Bill Rigler

Armstrong tweeted that he was a Scone-ologist and that Bunberry's cinannmon chip scone was one of the best he ever had.

Said Benfield, "He might be a famous scone-ologist, but he didn't finish it, he left a quarter of it unfinished." That's what happens when you're used to riding hundreds of miles but you only do a measly 40 to Piermont--you just aren't that hungry.

Later Armstrong said the ride along the Hudson is "one of the best in America."

 Now that is a thrill, though we kind of know it already (even though it does get boring after the 11,000th time.)

Armstrong was riding with Bart Knaggs who is his business partner at the Mellow Johnny's bike shop in Austin, Texas.  The two were both wearing Mellow Johnny's gear with the big Texas star in the back.

I have never gotten so many phone calls and emails in the space of five minutes as I did today! Too bad I couldn't be there, I wanted to see which of the seven bikes from the auction he was riding (just joking.)

Wrote cyclists Morene Bangel, "Hi, Jen...I'm a BBB follower and NY cyclist...Lance DID stop in Piermont today (Bunbury)...unfortunately I didn't, but I saw him twice on my ride today...getting off the GWB and on Ft. Washington on my way home! Should I play Lotto tonight???"

My answer? Definitely!

Armstrong's Hirst Bike Sells for Half a Million Dollars

Despite cool weather and light attendance, Lance Armstrong's bike that he rode along the Champs Elysees at this year's Tour de France fetched $500,000 at a Sotheby's auction yesterday.

A cadre of Livestrong and Sotheby personnel waiting for bidders to arrive. Later they were all checking their Blackberry's, no doubt to see Armstrong's Twitters.

Seven of Armstrong's bikes in all were auctioned off for a total of $1.3 million, which will benefit his cancer research cause, Livestrong.

The event proved both on the frontline and behind the scenes, that Armstrong is a master marketer, with a Twitter before the event, and live updates during the auction, updates that were never even issued by his own group. If Armstrong has a PR firm, it might be time to let them go because frankly, no one can best his own tweets. 

The event was hosted for free by Sotheby's, though the Livestrong crew refused entry for journalists who wanted to attend the event citing lack of space. But only about 20 or so of the 120 invitation only guests had shown up by 7:45 pm, and some had already come and gone including real estate marketer Michael Shvo with a blond date on his arm.  Still, many bids are now made online or over the phone, so attendance at the event was not necessarily an indication of its success.

With me last night and also turned away was a New York Times freelance reporter who lost his wife to cancer. Those facts didn't seem to sway the gatekeepers whose names and contact information wasn't made public before the event. Trying to call Sotheby's ahead of time turned out to be a nightmare, with no one answering published phone numbers on the weekend. If they were trying to keep publicity away, they succeeded.

The best price $500K was fetched by the Damien Hirst bike which had been decorated with butterflies all over the frame and rims. The artist's cachet is certain to have lifted the price, but the fact that the seven-time Tour de France winner rode the OCLV Red Carbon Madone with SRAM gruppo over the finish line at the Champs Elysees in front of millions of the French this year may have upped its price a bit.

A cycling fan named David who lost several friends to cancer and became a triathelete a few years ago,  stood outside the Sotheby's entrance waiting for Armstrong in the cold said he would not ride the Hirst bike but would rather hang it on the wall. David who has done seven half iron mans and wakes up at 4 in the morning to do some of his events said that Armstrong was inspirational: "People who come back from that kind of illness like he did, it's amazing," he said.

The final bidder on the Hirst bike--if indeed they are male-- might also not want to ride the bike because its rims are pink, and the bike frame is covered with many pastel butterflies and a pink "TREK" logo. But those points had no effect on the price. And anyway, "Lance rode it,"  said David.

A time trial bicycle decorated with boxing-gloved cartoons and the words, "Never forget your beginner's spirit," by artist Yoshitomo Nara fetched $200,000.  That Speed Concept bike made with OCLV Red carbon and also with SRAM time trial components proved to be the second fastest by only 3 seconds in the individual time trial at Annecy on July 23rd, and secured Armstrong's third place position on podium in Paris.

Three people leaving only about one half hour after they arrived at the auction. Many of the bids may have been online or by phone.

KAWS, a bike with teeth stenciled all over its frame and wheel rims, went for $160,000. That bike, designed by Brian Donnelly was later labeled "The Widowmaker," because Armstrong crashed and broke his collarbone while riding it in the Vuelta de Castillo y Leon.

The fourth best price of $130K was paid for "The Stolen Bike," a bike that was stolen and later recovered at the Tour of California.  That OCLV Red carbon time trial bike marked Armstrong's return to cycling competition after being in retirement for almost four years. The number 1274/27.5 on this bike, and the others, is the number of days he had stopped racing during which time 27.5 million people died of cancer.

Mark Newson's Speed Concept bike, another Trek time trial bike, garnered $110K.  That OCLV Red carbon bike with SRAM time trial components was used in this year's opening time trial at the Tour de France. It's back wheel is painted with a stroboscopic design. "When filmed moving, the rear wheel should appear static," said Newson describing his work.

Michael Shvo getting into his car with his date about one half hour after arriving.

The Shepard Fairey decorated bike also went for $110K, and Kenny Scharf's creation, another time trialing machine used in the Giro D'Italia, fetched $45,000.

The lack of publicity for the event may well have been planned, since the public was not invited to the event, and bidders were by invitation only. Although stories ran in publications far away from New York City, no real New York press carried news of the event. Publicity was thin especially for the public viewing that took place for a week or so before the auction, and that can often drive real buyers to attend.

Those missteps were sure to affect the results of the bids, which also had very strong competition from an upcoming auction on Wednesday at Sotheby's of some of the most important art works in the world, including several Picassos, Miro's, and other grand masters from the Impressionist school. That auction has works estimated at $12 million.

Weighing all the negatives, including the date--on the eve of the NYC Marathon which snarled traffic for miles, and made traveling to the auction difficult, in terms of performance, the auction was quite successful, even coming close to Damien Hirst's solo Sotheby's London auction in 2008 that raised $200 million.

Other autograph hunters standing outside Sotheby's in the cold may have been disappointed last night, as they waited for hours for Armstrong to appear.

Below is a blow by blow of Armstrong's twitter last night:

Thank you to Sothebys for hosting us and donating ALL of their work to @livestrong. You rock!

1.3 mil raised for @livestrong!!! So incredibly humbling.

"Stolen Bike" goes for 130,000.00!!!

The "Stolen Bike" is up next...

The Newsom goes for 110,000.00!

Marc Newsome is up next..

KAWS goes for 160,000.00. Stunned.

The KAWS is up next..

The Shep Fairey goes for 110,000.00!! This is insane..

The Shep Fairey is up next.

The NARA goes for 200,000.00!!! 200 grand!

The Nara is up next. Rode it in the Annecy TT from this year's TdF.

The Kenny Scharf TT bike from the Giro goes for 45,000!!!

The Hirst bike from the Champs Elysses goes for 500,000.00!!! Half a million bucks!!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sotheby's to Auction off Armstrong Bikes

It's confirmed that Lance Armstrong, seven time Tour de France winner will be auctioning off some of his bikes at Sotheby's tonight.

The dedicated cyclist was in New York to speak to Mayor Michael Bloomberg these past two days, and even got a ride in along New Jersey and New York roads before he headed back to Austin, Texas to trick and treat with his kids, showing that besides being the best draft in the world he is also one of the most dedicated dads.

Why? Because he's coming back to New York City for the Sotheby's event tonight at 7 pm on First Avenue.

Seven bikes will be auctioned off, all except one of which have been decorated by artists Damien Hirst, Kenny Scharf, Shepard Fairey, Marc Newson, Kaws (Brian Donnelly) and Yoshitomo Nara.  The seventh bike is the "Stolen Bike" the bike that was stolen at the Tour de California and then recovered by police (the thieves were caught and prosecuted.) Trek made a second one just like it in time for Armstrong's time trial. The proceeds are going to Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign.

A little something about the bikes, all of them top racing machines already worth in gearing, construction, and parts well over $10,000 each, but now with the artists' touch as well as having been between the legs of the master, they could each be worth at least $20,000.  It will be interesting to see how much they will actually go for in this down economy. Will rich art or cycling aficionados pony up the cash? All of them can also be seen on the Trek site (though I could not find the Stolen Bike there.)

Damien Hirst (of Shark Tank fame,) placed real butterflies inside the frame and the wheel rims of the Trek Madone machine that Armstrong raced in the Tour de France this year.

Brian Connelly designed KAWS with teeth lining the sides for the monster to eat the road. That bike was dubbed "The Widowmaker" when Armstrong at the last minute entered the Vuelta Leon Y Castillo and crashed, breaking his collarbone. That crash really cost him in fitness when he entered the TDF later.

The red OCLV carbon Trek designed by Kenny Scharf is a time trial bike  covered in stars and planets for the time traveler and red and blue comet cartoons.

Shepard Fairey who was the author of the Obama Hope poster (and all the resulting legal mess with the Wall Street Journal who claimed he stole their photo when he created it,) and has his own OBEY clothing line, has placed filigree patterns reminiscent of classic Italian architecture in black all over the yellow Trek designed for the Giro D'Italia.

The time trial bike designed by Marc Newson and used in the opening time trial of the 2009 TDF has a stroboscopic rear wheel that changes patterns when it moves.

Yoshitomo Nara designed Lance's time trial bike used in Annecy on July 23rd in the TDF. It has cartoon characters with boxing gloves and a says, "Never forget your beginner's spirit." That is the time trial that gave Armstrong his second place podium position in the final rankings. 

Describing no. 7, the Stolen Bike, the auctioneer booklet says,  "On February 15, 2009 it was stolen from Lance’s equipment trailer in Sacramento after its run in the Tour of California prologue. Though it was recovered by police shortly afterward in time for use by Lance in the time trial (the two thieves were quickly caught and prosecuted), an immediate replacement was issued by Trek as much-needed backup. On it was painted the legend “Ride this one like YOU stole it.”

It is not clear if the bike for sale is THE stolen bike, or the replacement.

The brochure goes on to say: “The 1274/27.5” Madone 6.9 and TTX 9.9 SSL cycles were designed to be messaging machines as well as road warriors. The number 1274 signifies the number of days Armstrong was in retirement following his final (and seventh) Tour de France victory in 2005. During this time, nearly 27.5 million people worldwide died from cancer. It’s a totally unacceptable statistic that ultimately prompted Lance to get back on the bike to raise the yellow flag of cancer awareness on a heightened global scale. Graphically, the bikes are works of art, and represent the pinnacle of Trek’s aesthetic engineering. The distinctive paint schemes were designed within the Trek creative team, and painted in their state-of-the-art Waterloo, Wisconsin facility using no decals. Look close, and you’ll realize the challenge in not applying vinyl stickers for graphics. Using a complex series of paint masks, each letter, logo and design element was masked to size, painted and then covered for the next layer in a painstaking 40-hour process."

My bet? The Stolen Bike and the Shepard Fairey bikes will fetch the highest prices.

The bikes will be available for viewing at Sotheby's until the 31st of October  (oops too late) at 1334 York Avenue.  Inquiries,  512 279 8356