Steven Pringle, 57, owner of Build a Bicycle – Bicycle Therapy in the UP town of Kingsford, who was the subject of a recent Detroit Free Press story, was killed in a car crash in Punta Gorda, Florida, Nov. 23 day.
He drove there that day to distribute free bikes to children displaced by Hurricane Ian in September. So his final act sums up the purpose of his life.
The story, published Nov. 6 in the Free Press, followed him on a two-day spree of impulsiveness and random generosity that culminated in the police being summoned for a horseback ride through downtown Iron Mountain.
Born and raised in Marquette, he joined the military, served in Lebanon in the 80s, returned home to Michigan, worked as a car salesman and eventually owned his own car dealership.
But he got stuck and lost everything. Years ago, when he was down on luck and living in an old camper van, he had an epiphany one night that led him to start a bike repair business with the sole purpose of giving distressed veterans something to keep them Get away from problems for a while. although. “Bike therapy,” he calls it. Somehow, it morphed into an actual bike shop. He continued to give away bikes for free despite everyone’s advice to stop doing it, and the shop inexplicably became more and more successful.
“He’s been through a lot in his life, he’s seen a lot, and I think at some point he really found God and really felt that God was with him in everything he did, and he really wanted to do the best he could,” said his 39-year-old daughter, Torri Pringle of Peoria, Illinois. “I think it really made him happy.”
Steven Pringle was driving a truck with a trailer full of new bikes in the back when he passed an intersection where a stop sign was damaged by the hurricane, according to his family. blown down. He was reportedly hit by a driver so hard that his truck hit a pole and rolled over, killing him instantly.
He leaves behind six children, five grandchildren, his girlfriend Lindsay, his horse Andy, his dog Lacey and countless customers, friends and people who only knew him as a friendly guy who gave them a bike for free stranger.
“Someone came to me and said, ‘Your dad made my son’s life better,'” said his son, Jason Pringle, 38, who traveled to Florida to deal with the aftermath of his father’s death. “One woman said, ‘We couldn’t afford bikes and your father gave my son a bike.’ I was really blown away by the impact he had.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe account to pay for the funeral and continue his charity work with the bike, possibly giving gifts to children in need every year. “It meant a lot to him and was a way to liven up his name,” Torri Pringle said.
Someone erected a monument at the intersection where he died: an old bicycle, painted white, with the wreckage in the shape of a cross. So-called “ghost bikes” can be found in towns and cities across the United States, often erected by those in the cycling community to honor cyclists killed in accidents. The family doesn’t know who put it there, but says it shows the influence of Steven Pringle’s work.
“It’s a wonderful thing that these people still recognize the work my dad did,” Jason Pringle said. “He’s helping kids take the bad roads in life and showing them that there are better ways to live; It’s impacted the community in a good way, and these people recognize that this little monument is really great.”
John Carlisle writes about Michigan people and places. His story can be found at freep.com/carlisle. Contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org him on twitter @_johncarlisleJohncarlisle.freep on Facebook or johncarlislefreep on Instagram.