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

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