Ask Belle: The Blumenauer Bike Pin
Aug 17, 2010
Can we please talk about the ugly neon bike pins that all the interns wear? They might as well be wearing a sign that says, “Newbie.”
Nothing goes with a plastic bike pin.
The Intern Coordinator
While it’s true that neon plastic isn’t my cup of tea, the bike pin is a Capitol Hill institution. Like the late Sen. Robert Byrd, the elevator stewards, the Lincoln catalfaque, and the Members smoking lounge, the U.S. Capitol just wouldn’t be the same place without the neon bike pins.
For those of you who live outside of the Beltway, allow me to explain the legend of the bike pin so that we all might appreciate this piece of Americana.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is the chairman of the Congressional Bike Caucus and a self-described bicycle evangelist. He rides his bike to and from the Capitol every day, and champions the cause of two-wheeled transportation enthusiasts everywhere. And in keeping with his chosen crusade, he always wears a hot neon bike pin in one of the standard highlighter colors making the pins synonymous with the name Blumenauer.
To spread his message far and wide, Blumenauer generously bestows his trademark pins on visitors and staff alike. And getting pinned by Blumenauer is a Capitol Hill right of passage.
Most of the Members, Staffers, Interns and Pages that I know have been pinned by the Gentlemen from Oregon (my pin is hot pink, see above). And if you work in the House and haven’t been bike pinned, then you need to get out of your cubicle a bit more.
Thus, I don’t believe that the bike pins are faux pas. Yes, they’re a bit gauche for my taste. But they’re a part of the Capitol Hill story and that makes them awesome.