Armstrong bike stolen from sheriff’s porch found chained to tree
A distinctive yellow bicycle given to Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo’s wife by Lance Armstrong that was stolen in August was found Sunday chained to a tree off Cemetery Lane, sources said Wednesday.
“I was happy and surprised,” DiSalvo said Wednesday. “I had written it off as gone.”
The DiSalvos received word the bike had been found the very same day they got a check from the insurance company covering its loss, he said.
“So we have to return that,” the sheriff said.
Pryce Hadley, a ranger with the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Program, first noticed something in the brush off Cemetery Lane near the spot where the Rio Grande Trail crosses the road when the lights of his vehicle picked up a reflection Saturday night, he said.
He said he came back Sunday morning and discovered the Trek road bicycle with Armstrong’s name on it locked to a small aspen tree in a portion of the city of Aspen’s Red Butte Open Space area.
“The bike was about 100 yards from the (Roaring Fork) river,” said Hadley, who’d read about the theft in the newspaper back in August. “It was pretty easy to recognize Lance Armstrong’s bike that belongs to the DiSalvos.”
The bike was locked up with Marcy DiSalvo’s lock that was with the bike when it was stolen from the DiSalvo’s front porch Aug. 18, Joe DiSalvo said Wednesday.
Hadley cut the lock off and returned the bike to the DiSalvos, he said. While there was a groove in the leaves and dirt where the bike had been sitting, Hadley said he didn’t think it had been there for too long.
“The bike was in perfect condition,” Hadley said. “When I turned it over to the DiSalvos, they asked if it had been cleaned.”
The bike was in the vicinity of an area sometimes used as a homeless camp, he said.
Armstrong gave Marcy DiSalvo the bicycle a couple of years ago after she expressed an interest in cycling, the sheriff has said. Armstrong — a longtime friend of the sheriff’s — offered to give her the 2005 bike he rode in the Tour of Hope from San Diego to Washington, D.C., Joe DiSalvo has said.
A bike mechanic tuned the bike in August and brought it back to the DiSalvo’s home and left it on the front porch. The thief, who would have had to walk through the front gate and onto the porch, took it from there, Marcy DiSalvo has said.
Joe DiSalvo estimated the bike was worth between $5,000 and $10,000.
Marcy DiSalvo did not return a phone message Wednesday seeking comment.
Aspen City Council approved a contract with Daniel Joseph (DJ) Watkins during Tuesday’s regular meeting to move forward with his intentions to operate his proposed “Aspen Collective,” which is currently occupied by Mia Valley’s Valley Fine Art.