Sandwiched between Des Moines and Ames, surrounded by cornfields, is the Ames Bicycle Barn. David Lamar listens to what his customer needs, then finds them a bike, new, used, or otherwise.
Lamar was an English professor at both Drake University and Iowa State. But has since moved on to substitute teaching. He is also involved in a formal wear business.
Back in 2012, Lamar purchased nine bikes for 25 cents apiece. Then he fixed them up and found riders for each of them, and not a month later they were gone. He has since built a website and takes specific requests. One of his customers could not pedal with their feet, so he found a trike that could be pedaled with arms instead. “Those bikes can be expensive,” he said. Lamar found and revitalized a used one, and saved his customer potentially a couple hundred dollars.
During the Iowa staple, RAGBRAI, he got some international attention. Some cyclists were travelling from London for the big ride, and they did not want to ship or take their bikes on the plane, so they gave Lamar a call. He delivered with bikes that took them safely to the finish, with no problems but a few flat tires.
The Barn is not actually a barn at all, it is a corncrib. “A common misnomer,” he said. But “Ames Bicycle Corncrib, doesn’t have the same ring to it,” he joked.