A little less than a year ago we decided that it was about time to embrace this social media platform known as Instagram. Until then, we had been focusing all of our social efforts on Facebook . After Facebook decided to charge page owners to reach their audience, we knew it was a good time to try other avenues. During our exploration of this fun way to show off the bikes built on the forum, we stumbled upon an interesting account owned by a very cool lady who goes by the name Lipstick-n-Wrenches. It’s not often that you come across female collectors in the world of vintage bicycles, but when you do, you quickly realize that they get bitten by the bug just as bad as any guy does.
Lisa grew up in a small town in Indiana and as in most small towns, riding bikes was a big part of life. Her first bike was a cherry pink Schwinn Lil’ Chik which she proudly proclaimed to be the best looking bike on the block. “It had a basket on the front which provided me the perfect place to put my little play purse and it had glittering streamers dangling from the handlebars which I thought topped the bike off. It was the Chik of Chiks. That bicycle was special to me and remains a great part of my memories from younger days. It’s funny how a bicycle can provide a kid with a sense of freedom. I can remember daring myself to ride with no hands. That was such a rush. Riding felt like you were flying. There were many great times spent riding bikes with friends and family. Taking off and circling around the neighborhood over and over…that was just something we did as kids.”
After Lisa graduated from High School she went on to study art in college. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication. “Seeing and doing things in creative ways is a way of life for me. Not only is it a profession, but art is involved in about every aspect of my life. It’s a family thing, and because of that, I cannot help but to see bicycles as rolling pieces of art. I think of them as valuable elements of the past…not only as a form of transportation, but I believe they brought an element of joy, freedom and a sense of adventure to those who owned them.”
About six years ago Lisa and her son were out looking for a bike for him to ride. They came upon a 60’s Rollfast Skoot muscle bike and her son instantly fell in love with the retro look. Little did Lisa know, this would be the bike that would propel her into a new hobby of collecting vintage bicycles. “I have always loved bikes, but the collecting aspect didn’t begin until the Rollfast. You wouldn’t think a bicycle would mean that much, but that one Rollfast brought back a lot of great memories and good feelings from my childhood. When those feelings took hold, they drove me to begin looking for more bicycles. Soon that one bicycle turned into ten. Then ten turned into fifty and that number didn’t stop. At one point in time, I owned eighty-six bicycles. That’s when I realized I had an addiction and definitely not enough room for eighty-six bikes.”
As many of us do when we first get into the hobby, Lisa started collecting a wide range of vintage bikes. After a while she decided to narrow her focus to a particular genre of bikes. “As I began to research the older bicycles even more, I got intrigued by the unique styles, especially some of the bikes from the 1890’s through the forties. I see so much design in that era of bicycles. You can tell there were some that were carefully thought out and designed for elegance. The form and lines of some of the old bicycles are just amazing.”
When asked what she enjoys about the hobby, Lisa’s response was…“The HUNT! I truly enjoy the hunt that goes along with finding these bicycles. It’s hard to explain the feelings you get when you find something that’s rare or discovering something that been lost for years, but the best word I can use to describe it is INCREDIBLE. And that incredible feeling doesn’t end after a find or discovery…because that feeling you get drives you to keep looking for more. It’s the thrill of the find.”
After building up a nice collection of bikes, a friend of Lisa’s encouraged her to create an Instagram account to share photos of her cool classic rides. “It has become the best way for me to reach the world and the best way for me to share my love for bicycles through photos combined with my writings, thoughts and other things I share. I also began posting some of my follower’s vintage bicycles. I have come in contact with some amazing people from across the world and we have all connected via the bicycle. Connecting and connections, that’s what it is all about. It doesn’t matter what bicycle you ride, collect or build, each and every bike is something special. I hope by sharing all that I do on Instagram will help to keep the passion for the vintage/antique bicycle alive here and abroad.” At this point, Lisa has over 13,000 Instagram followers and it’s sure to keep growing every day.
Lisa likes to attend shows and swap meets and really enjoys making connections in the hobby. Meeting other collectors and learning more about the bikes is what she loves. “I’m truly blessed that my entire family supports and helps me with my addiction to bicycles. They continue to push me to share the things I collect and create with the world. They are the push behind my pedal.”
As mentioned earlier, collecting vintage bicycles is definitely a male dominated hobby, but Lisa says… “I have connected with a few girls out there with passion, like mine, for vintage bicycles and I believe they’re enjoying them just as much as the boys. I hope that Lipstick-n-Wrenches can reach out to more girls and bring them into the hobby. If I can help show the feminine side to these bikes by posting a variety of photos combined with my poetry and short stories on Instagram, I hope to capture some of their attention and get them involved.”
We want to thank Lisa for sharing her story and some photos of her collection and we’d like encourage everybody to go check out her Instagram account. One thing’s for sure, she always has some amazing shots of her collection to keep you feeling green with envy.