Riding a bike doesn’t mean ending up face-first on a mound of grass covered in sweat. Take ‘er easy and learn from yarn and bike enthusiast, Michelle “Vod” Atikinson.
Not only can you find her at most community rides, you also can’t miss her— she’ll be dressed in colorful, vintage clothing, Vod’s outfits are often as bold as her bike.
Name: Michelle “Vod” Atkinson
Age: 40 (until I’m 50)
Occupation: College Advisor/Yarn-bomber Revenge Artist
What should look better— you or your bicycle?
I’d like to think they go hand-in-hand. I don’t like it when I clash with my bike’s decoration.
Animal prints: gaudy or glamorous?
I am not a wearer of animal prints, but I do not begrudge anyone’s form of fashion.
Neon: should it be left in the past and limited to highlighters, or should more people embrace those colors and “see the bright?”
I am a child of the 80s so of course I support the resurgence of neon colors! Bring it on!
Where do you shop to score your
clothing and accessories?
House of Dow dresses me!
What do you feel best when wearing?
A dress with a popped collar and pockets. Give me a pair of clogs and I am set.
How has your style evolved over time?
My style is always evolving. I have a life goal of owning enough clothes with polka dots that I can wear them everyday.
What’s your best advice for people
scared to break fashion rules?
There are no rules. Don’t let anyone tell you that fanny packs aren’t cool. If it gives you that feeling, it’s comfortable, and functional, then go for it!
How did you get into yarn bombing?
I’m an all or nothing kind of gal. A few years ago I got into yarn-bombing and ended up yarn bombing all of downtown Sylvania just to get revenge on some old biddy that doesn’t like fun things. I have found it is more fun to make things colorful and happy when I know it will make stupid people mad.
How did you get into decorating bicycles?
I started decorating bikes when I started going up to the Detroit Slow Rolls. Every Monday night, up to four thousand people come out and take a slow ride through downtown Detroit. There is a small group of us from Toledo that go up religiously every week. The riders up there decorate their bikes, play music from their bikes, and have a great time. I believe there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. We are lucky to live so close to such an amazing event.
How many bicycles have you given the royal treatment to?
I have only bombed one bike. I am now on my second bike and currently in the process of decking her out. She is a beauty on her own and I am not ready to cover her completely with yarn. I am currently making pink yarn pom poms to cover the handle bars and basket.
What materials do you use and what’s
your inspiration when decorating?
As you can expect, cheap, acrylic, colorful yarn is my number one medium. Drinking straws on the spokes is so cheap and easy though!
What do you want people to know about biking?
My kind of biking means going out and having fun. It is a slow ride to the library, to get ice cream, or to your local watering hole! It’s about ringing a bell and waving at your neighbors!
Community Slow Rides
An organized slow ride for all ages is usually 1-2 hours at 7-10 mph.
- Sylvania Slow Ryders- Every fourth Sunday at 4:00 from the Sylvania Library. Find them on fb
- Toledo Roll- Sunday, May 21 at 4:00. Departs from Walbridge Park
- Perrysburg Slow Rollers- Every Monday at 6:45 Departs from Country Charm Shopping Center