When Lance Armstrong returned to racing after a three-year retirement, he aimed to leverage his publicity to support his global cancer-fighting initiative and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Case in point: through the sale of seven custom painted, one-of-a-kind Trek bicycles, the “It’s About the Bike” auction, held November 1st at Sotheby’s in New York City, raised $1.25 million to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s cancer research, awareness, and advocacy programs.
The auction was a fundraiser for STAGES, a global art exhibition designed to raise both funds and awareness for cancer research, treatment, and prevention. As part of STAGES, Trek, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Nike and some of the most recognized and influential contemporary artists from across the globe teamed up to create a unique collection of bicycles that blur the lines separating art, culture, and technology. Armstrong then raced the bikes throughout his 2009 return to professional cycling, including stages of the Tour de France.
Participating artists included Kenny Scharf, KAWS, Shepard Fairey, Marc Newson, Yoshitomo Nara and Damien Hirst. For photographs of the bikes and further information on STAGES, visit Trek Bicycle’s STAGES website.
The “Stolen” bike show below, featuring art by Dirt Rag alumnus Mike Pfaltzgraff (now graphic designer with Trek), sold for $130,000 in the auction. The bike was produced by Trek for competition in Armstrong’s first ever Tour of California race. On February 15, 2009 it was stolen from Armstrong’s equipment trailer after its run in the Tour of California prologue. Though it was recovered by police shortly afterward in time for use by Armstrong in the time trial, an immediate replacement was issued by Trek as much-needed backup. On it was painted: “Ride this one like YOU stole it.”