With the Kyle's Bikes expansion into Waukee, it is time to introduce everyone to Dave Hammer. Dave has been unofficially working at Kyle's Bikes since the Ankeny store opened ten years ago. Kyle asked him—along with his wife and tandem stoker, Cindy—to be the leader of the Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride. They said yes and have been leading the ride since then. Officially, he has been an employee since the Monday after the 2018 Kyle's Bikes Parking Lot Sale. That's when he began working day-to-day in the store and preparing for the opening of the Waukee location where he will be Waukee Store Team Leader.
Grand Rapids, Michigan. Family moved to IA in 1995.
Waukee Store Team Leader in training, as Jim Riley and I will be managing the new Waukee location!
All types of cycling of course, along with camping/hiking, downhill skiing, traveling, and anything adventurous!!
What do you like best about working at Kyle's Bikes?
As the saying goes, "When you're doing something you love, you'll never work another day of your life!" I can't thank Kyle enough for providing me the opportunity to share my love of cycling with others.
What are you looking forward to with the new store?
Sharing the Kyle's Bikes mission statement—Making cycling and running fun for everyone!—with Waukee and the surrounding communities. I'm also excited about the shops close proximity to the Raccoon River Bike Trail and being the "go to shop" for all those trail users!
Are you looking forward to working with Jim?
I've known Jim Riley since the Wednesday night ride out of Irwin's over ten years ago, and we've ridden numerous times together since. Jim is just a good cycling ambassador and has quite a following here at the Ankeny store. So I'm very, very excited to have Jim as a work partner at the new store. I'm already calling us the dynamic duo. It'll be a great relationship. My old school knowledge with his current knowledge. It'll be a great fit.
What are your favorite bikes to work on and why?
That's a toss-up!?!? I started wrenching on bikes back in the 70s, so I'm naturally drawn to the old school simplicity of a quality, lugged, steel frame, road racing bike. But I love the new technology of the current bicycles being produced. So any bike that I can repair and get its owner back turning the pedals, putting a smile on their face, is my favorite.
Do you consider yourself a cyclist, a runner, a triathlete, a swimmer, or…?
I'm cyclist at heart. I also consider myself to be an adventurous person, as I'm always keeping an eye/ear out for something new to challenge me.
What got you interested in cycling?
Growing up as the youngest of seven siblings, I rode my bike at a very early age for fun and as a mode of transportation. But I have my older sister to thank for opening my eyes to using the bike for a variety of disciplines. Additionally, there have been so many cycling friends through the years that have shared their passion and knowledge of the sport with me, that it compels me to share that same passion and knowledge with others whom I can someday also call my cycling friends!
Have you done any bike races?
I started competing in road races/criteriums/time-trials at the age of 12 with the Rapid Wheelmen Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I continued through age 21, and then took a long hiatus. After moving to Iowa and being reintroduced to competing by one of many cycling friends, I broadened my racing disciplines to include dirt single track, tandem, gravel, and 24-hour events. My claim to fame as a competitive cyclist is that I've never had a DNF in the results column next to my name!
Do you do any running or swimming? Have you done a triathlon?
Though I find running to be my Achilles' heel (pun intended), I do enjoy competing in the occasional trail run, as I find it suits my cycling fitness. I have run Living History Farms cross country race a number of times and highly recommend it, if not just for the experience of the event itself. I love swimming, as it is one's technique (no equipment) determining how efficiently and quickly one glides through the water. I just don't have the time to pursue it. I competed in a number of sprint/Olympic distance events in the early/mid 80s. Having been competitive swimmer in high school (as well as cycling), I was pretty fast for 2/3's of the event. Running was always my stumbling block (pun intended) for finishing on the podium!!
Exactly how did your sister expand your cycling involvement?
My sister Barb and her friends bought 10-speeds. As they were riding these bikes, they were needing to be tuned. They went to the bike shop and it cost quite a bit of money, so my sister Barb says, "My little brother takes stuff apart and puts it together all the time. I bet you if we got him a book, he could learn to tune our bikes for us." So I'm in my bedroom doing homework one night. Barb comes in, throws Sloane's Complete Book of Bicycling book on my bed, and says, "Hey, you learn the stuff in this book and start working on my girlfriends' bikes, and we'll pay you five dollars an hour." While I was working on their bikes, I started hearing the stories of their bicycle tours off to the beach for the weekend. That sounded like something I'd like to do, so with the first hundred bucks that I saved up from working on their bikes, I went out and bought my 10-speed. The rest is history. My sister introduced me to the president of West Michigan Council of American Youth Hostels. I bought a lifetime membership and I started bike touring. And then I was introduced to the owner of the bike shop and that's how I got my job at the bike shop. From there I was introduced to Rapid Wheelmen Club of Grand Rapids. And that's how I got into bike racing.
Is there anything else that people might want to know about you?
I'm married to the best stoker in the world Cindy. She's been my stoker for 37 1/2 years now and we literally wore out our first tandem. We did find the time between pedal strokes to have two wonderful kids. Our son Alex, his wife Veronica, and their baby boy Levon reside in rural Carlisle, Iowa. Our daughter Carly, her husband Mark, and their one-year-old son Tommy D reside in Prior Lake, Minnesota. One of my fondest memories as a family is when we rode the full week of RAGBRAI in 1997 on two tandems. Cindy and Alex, at 10 years old, rode one. Carly, at 7 years old, and I rode the other. Fun, fun times and great memories!!
Learn more about Hammer by reading about the 24-hour races he and Kyle have done together on the tandem. Keep up-to-date on our new Waukee store by reading related articles or following us on Facebook.