'Fast Freddie' surprises students with free bikes

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Four-time U.S. National Road Race champion Freddie Rodriguez gets hugs from students after they realized they were getting free bicycles at the Renaissance School in Auburn on Thursday. “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez provided 27 new bicycles and bike helmets for students through the Fast Freddie Foundation and help from Dennis Richardson of Turner. Rodriguez is in town for the Dempsey Challenge, an event that he travels to each year from California to help raise money for the Dempsey Center. Richardson is a childhood friend of actor Patrick Dempsey and was challenged by Dempsey to quit smoking, lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. Richardson rode his bike 300 miles in one 24-hour day to raise $5,000 to help buy the bicycles that Rodriguez gave to the students of the Renaissance School, an intensive program for kids who struggle in a traditional classroom. 

Dennis Richardson of Turner gives a bike to a student at the Renaissance School in Auburn on Thursday. Richardson is a childhood friend of actor Patrick Dempsey and was challenged by Dempsey to quit smoking, lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. At the time, Richardson had smoked two packs a day for 24 years. He quit, and recently rode his bike 300 miles in one 24-hour day to raise $5,000 to help buy the bicycles that were given to students of the Renaissance School. 

“Fast Freddie” Rodriguez signs one of the 27 bicycles given to students on Thursday. Rodriguez is a four-time National Road Race champion. 

Behavioral health professional Krysten Applegate makes sure a student’s bicycle helmet fits. 

“Fast Freddie” Rodriguez teaches students about bicycle safety at the Renaissance School in Auburn on Thursday. 

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