- Special Sections
- Public Notices
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The bicycle had two flat tires, but Greg Estes figured the $5 asking price still made it a great bargain at a yard sale. Little did he know just how great.
Estes checked on the bike’s origin after buying it in Owenton this month. He was shocked to learn it may be worth as much as $8,000 and was custom built for cycling star Floyd Landis, who used it in the 2007 Leadville 100, a mountain bike race in Colorado.
Landis crashed but finished second in that race, which was shortly after his victory in the 2006 Tour de France, a win since vacated due to doping charges.
“It’s a Cadillac of bicycles, that’s for sure,” said Estes, 38, of Owenton. “It’s just unreal how good it rides.”
A sticker on the bike told him it was custom built by Cyco-Path Bicycles out of Temecula, Calif., near San Diego. Store manager Loren Foley said he was stunned when Estes started describing the parts, knowing the company had made only one such model and they remembered it well considering Landis’ celebrity at the time.
Foley dug up photographs of the Colorado race to be sure and recognized Landis’ crashed bicycle as identical to the model Estes was describing.
“It’s even got the same under-the-seat gear bag, the same tires,” Foley said. “It’s definitely the same bike.”
As for value, Foley said Estes could expect to collect $5,500 to $6,000 for it on the open market — maybe quite a bit more if he gets actual value or a premium because it once belonged to a celebrity.
For fun, Estes put the bike in his own yard sale, replacing the $5 price tag with a $6,000 one. He got no takers, but a lot of perplexed looks.
He says he planned to resell it ever since he bought it, and certainly does now.
“I was planning on making a couple hundred dollars off it,” Estes said. “Never dreamed it would come out to be an $8,000 bicycle. Kind of just blows your mind, something like that.”
Estes says he understands how the bike got discounted. Besides the flat tires, it had pedals that the yard sale owner thought were broken but actually are the smaller, clip-in pedals used by serious riders.
The bigger mystery, however, is how it got to the yard sale at all. The seller told Estes her family found it on the side of an interstate highway in Kentucky.
Landis did not immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment. He recently returned to the spotlight when he sent e-mails to cycling officials that accused ex-teammate Armstrong, along with his longtime doctor and trainer, and numerous other U.S. cyclists, of running an organized doping program earlier this decade. Armstrong has strongly denied the allegations.
Estes says he offered the previous yard sale owner part of the profits if he resells, but her response was finders, keepers.
“If someone lost it or had it stolen and wants it back, they can have it back, but it’s going to take some serious documentation,” Estes said. “They’re going to have to show some big-time proof.”