Wheelers turn at bicycle auction | AspenTimes.com

Wheelers turn at bicycle auction

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado
Plenty of bicycles went to the highest bidder at Saturday's Aspen Police auction. (Jim Paussa/The Aspen Times)
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ASPEN Bidders at Saturday’s Aspen Police Abandoned Bicycle Auction at the county landfill proved the adage that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.There was lots of tire kicking and checking under the hood at the county landfill lot where the cars and bikes waited for new owners Saturday. But after a busy day of bidding, the event raised $12,048 for the Aspen Police Department’s general fund, according to Kathy Tolle, administrative supervisor of the department.”I like that one,” said Lise Sansom on Saturday morning while surveying a rusted touring bike with no seat. But when she lost out in the bidding war, she smiled and said, “He can have it. … It is worth it, but I don’t want to buy them all.”Sansom maintains a stable of nearly 200 bicycles at the Aspen Music School, where students can rent refurbished bikes for the summer at no charge.”I’m the bike goddess,” Sansom said with a grin. In the end, she walked away with 11 bicycles for $475. “It’s recycling,” she said.

In her third summer on the job, she’s a master at finding two-wheeled gems, she said. And at Saturday’s auction, she bought some bikes just for special parts such as upright handlebars popular with music students who have to tote heavy instruments on their backs, she said.The Music School received a $3,000 grant from the city of Aspen’s Transportation Options Committee and Sansom was prepared to spend $500 Saturday and plans to spend more on affordable new bikes at an outfitter in Denver, she said.”It keeps a lot of cars off of Castle Creek Road,” Sansom said, and providing bikes to students also means less autos making the short trip to Aspen and crowding city streets, she said.”My mission is to get many as many bikes as we can,” Sansom said, and she receives donated bikes or collects them from wherever she can find them. But resurrecting the rusty old bikes or making new ones out of parts is a joy, she said. “It’s so much fun.””I think we’re looking for a his and hers,” said Jim Cleaver, who along with Kelly Jonas was eager for a two-wheeled purchase Saturday. The pair walked away with three bikes for far less than their ceiling price of $300.Alana Monge wasn’t so lucky, and said the prices got too high.

“The only one I bid on went for $150,” she said.Aspen’s Rich Pearce felt the same: “There just wasn’t anything there that fried my burger.”But the action at the auto auction was fast and furious.”It’s probably the biggest frenzy of the year,” said Paul Mayer, who runs Basalt Security along with his wife Liz.The Mayers were on hand Saturday to refit keys into the auctioned cars, charging from $40 to $100 for the job. The refits sometimes require no more than copying a code and making a new key and other times mean pulling out ignitions, Mayer said.

Tow truck drivers waited next to Mayer’s makeshift shop to haul cars that wouldn’t start.”It’s worth quite a bit,” said Jason Miller, who paid $110 for a 1987 BMW 325 with over 200,000 miles on the odometer. Originally from Minnesota, Miller lives in Avon and said he planned to rent a car dolly to tow his new purchase home.”They buy the cars with no knowledge of the condition of the vehicle,” Mayer said. “But I’ve seen people pay $50 for a car and make a key and drive right out of here.”Charles Agar’s e-mail address is cagar@aspentimes.com


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