PUNTA GORDA (AP)
A Michigan Army veteran who turned his life around with a bike shop died in a crash while delivering free bikes to children in Southwest Florida affected by Hurricane Ian, his family said.
Steven Pringle, 57, was killed in Punta Gorda on Nov. 23, a few weeks after a profile in the Detroit Free Press described how his passion for fixing bikes had touched many people in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
“One lady said, ‘We couldn’t afford a bicycle, and your father gave my son a bicycle.’ I was really blown away at the impact that he had,” Pringle’s son, Jason Pringle, told the Free Press last week.
Someone placed a bike, painted white, at the scene of the Punta Gorda crash, a common memorial to victims of fatal collisions. There’s a message on the frame: “May the legend live on.”
Steven Pringle, owner of Build a Bicycle – Bicycle Therapy, delivers three bikes as donations to surprised nuns at the Carmelite Monastery of the Holy Cross in Iron Mountain, Mich., on Friday, July 29, 2022. Years ago, when he was struggling, Pringle wrote to the nuns asking for their prayers, and ever since then, he tries to return the favor by bringing unannounced gifts. Pringle, 57, a Michigan Army veteran who turned his life around with a bike shop died in a crash on Nov. 23, in Punta Gorda, Fla., while delivering free bikes to children in Florida affected by Hurricane Ian, his family said. (Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press via AP)
Pringle was driving a pickup truck with a trailer of bikes when he drove through an intersection that was missing a stop sign due to the hurricane, the Free Press reported.
Pringle earlier this year told the newspaper that he had been in despair, eating poorly and living in a camper when he had an awakening while praying the Catholic rosary. It eventually turned into Build a Bicycle — Bicycle Therapy, a shop in Kingsford where he fixed bikes, sold new ones and gave many away.
“I’ve had people in the beginning who told me, ‘You donate too much,’” Pringle said. “But the more we donate, the more that comes back at the end of the day. I don’t need money. What am I gonna do with it, collect it and save it?”