Montecito-based bike shop Mad Dogs and Englishmen gifted a bike to Prince Archie, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, for his fourth birthday. The company announced the gift on Instagram on 10 June, and has since faced backlash from social media users who believe it inappropriate to give gifts to “people of privilege”. In response, the company has announced it will give away a Banwood Bikes bike to a local resident who can demonstrate financial need.
To qualify for the giveaway, applicants must demonstrate financial need and be a local resident in one of the communities where the company’s four shops are located. The company has a philanthropic commitment to its local communities, and has donated bikes in the past. It has also received support from followers who buy its apparel or donate for a gift card to give away with the bike for charity. The giveaway will take place on 17 June.
Response to criticism
The company owner, Jennifer Blevins, said that she was “woken up” to the pain that people of privilege can feel after receiving negative comments on social media. She said that she had previously not felt empathy for people she considered wealthy or famous, but now feels differently. She added that she feels everything that comes at her, positive and negative, and tries to live a positive life. She also said that anyone in any role does not deserve to be treated with toxicity.
The company said that it wanted to “take away all the hostility and the anger” by giving away a bike to someone in need. It said that it would delete any negative or inappropriate comments on its social media pages to maintain positive engagement with its followers and the communities it serves.
The bike given to Prince Archie was a child’s bike by California-based brand Specialized, and is the Rip Rock Coaster 16 Rainbow Flake in Pink and Turquoise. It retails for $249.99. The company said that it received a thank you letter from Harry and Meghan, which it plans to display in all its stores.