The kids get to try out their new bikes for the first time. | Photo: Hannah Weaver

After their birthday present to Prince Archie sparked backlash, a bike shop decided to turn things around. Per the critics’ suggestion, Montecito bike shop Mad Dogs & Englishmen gathered donations and contributed some of their own time and money into giving away bikes to less privileged children.

“We got a little spotlight and were like, ‘What can we do to channel this spotlight into something good?’” owner Jennifer Blevins said.

The store gave 75 total bikes away, no strings attached, to children from the surrounding areas of each of their three store locations. After distributing bikes in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Mill Valley, they finished up at the Montecito shop where it all started.

On June 23, the bike shop invited the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club to come by and pick up 25 Specialized brand bikes, the very same model which they gave to Prince Archie. The regional umbrella organization, United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County, serves 3,000 children annually, 75 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“So many bikes, Diana!” one of the kids exclaimed to Diana Ornelas, Carpinteria Club Director.

Ornelas explained that the bikes will be well-utilized at their club’s bi-weekly Bike Days that teach kids safety, technical, and exploration skills. According to her, some of the kids weren’t able to fully participate because they didn’t have a bike of their own, but they’ll now be able to ride alongside their peers.

“I’m ready for the thunder!” another kid shouted as he mounted his new bike.

However, because the bikes were the same model as the one given to 4-year-old Archie, they weren’t the right size for all the kids. Blevins said the new goal is to fundraise roughly $10,000 more to purchase bikes for older children.

“We’ve been around five years and we’ve never been able to give that many [bikes] away at one time,” she said. “We would definitely not have been able to do that without the support of the people that reached out to us.”

Mad Dogs & Englishmen’s GoFundMe for Bikes for Kids can be found here.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.