Meet BayCare Clinic's cyclists

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Being a medical doctor is hard work. There is much time, effort and patience put into being the best doctor one can be. So, how do BayCare Clinic doctors unwind, exercise, socialize and travel around the globe? Bicycling, of course! Many of our doctors are passionate about spending ample time on their two wheels. They would love to share their passion with you; please read on below…


It truly can be a family affair


“My wife and I also ride a tandem together, so it is a great way for us to exercise together without one feeling that they are pushing or holding the other back. It also can make for some great weekend trips together participating in various organized rides around the state and an excuse to visit a bed and breakfast,” ophthalmologist Dr. Brian Perkovich says, “There is even an organization for those such as us – COWS – couples on wheels. My sons ride and it is a great sport that the entire family has always participated in together, although I am no longer the fastest in the family, or second fastest… or third fastest… well, maybe I am the fourth fastest now.”


Dr. Wienkers and Dr. Perkovich Biking

Doctors bike together, too! From left to right: Cindy Wienkers, Dr. Kevin Wienkers, Dr. Brian Perkovich, Ann Perkovich. 


Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jon Henry was taught at a young age to appreciate biking and passed that on to his own children. “It’s a great family activity. As a kid, my family would take biking vacations to the Elroy Sparta Trail each Labor Day weekend. I’ve learned to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors – especially in our great state of Wisconsin – while getting in a fun workout and spending time with family and friends.”


Dr. Henry and his wife biking

Dr. Henry and his wife paused for a photo during one of their excursions.


Oftentimes, biking and childhood are synonymous. Emergency physician Dr. Gemma C. Bornick has fond memories of her family and friends savoring bicycling together. “When I was growing up my family - my father, mother, sister and myself - would often take a bicycle ride as a daily outing on the weekends. We would pack a few sandwiches and a thermos of tea into a backpack and go riding for what seemed like the whole day around the countryside. I also had a number of friends that lived within biking distance, and we would regularly disappear for hours on a summer afternoon biking around, eating apples or cherries out of the roadside orchards, and generally just being child explorers. There's nothing quite like the feeling you get coasting down a steep hill going maybe a little too fast, on a summer evening, when you have the energy to keep going for miles and your best friend at your side.”


Dr. Lewis biking

Dr. Gemma C. Bornick never forgets her helmet.  "I view bicycling as a fun activity to do when you feel like it, preferably in the presence of someone else that you love who has a similar enthusiasm for it.  I think that this approach to biking is great for mental health because it has the potential to improve relationships."


Biking in Green Bay and Wisconsin


Every physician we talked with agreed on at least one thing: Wisconsin holds some of the most scenic and challenging biking routes in the country.


Although each of these physicians enjoys a local bike ride, they also plan cross-country trips – possibly even abroad – to bike. Aurora BayCare’s gynecological oncologist Dr. Peter R. Johnson enjoyed a weeklong bicycling trip to Sonoma and Napa Valley in California with fellow physicians. 


Dr. Johnson biking

Dr. Peter R. Johnson enjoys riding his bike in Green Bay on Nicolet Drive, but also loved spending time cycling in Napa Valley in California.


Ophthalmologist Dr. Kevin Wienkers has included his children in biking since birth and continues to enforce this healthy habit. “Door County is a favorite place to bike – I love to do the century ride. I even did the century ride 25 years ago when my first child was in a Burley, pulled behind my bike. They ride now on their own – we just did a biking vacation in France with the family.”


Dr. Wienkers Family Biking Paris

Dr. Kevin Wienkers and his family enjoyed their bike ride through France.  On the left, the Palace of Versailles.  On the right, the Eiffel Tower in Paris.


Others use bicycling for practicality as well as enjoyment, Dr. Bornick said, “I bike to and from work at the hospital when I get the chance, like several of our other Emergency Department physicians (our call room has a bike in it about half the time during the summer). There is a bike lane most of the way from my house to the hospital, so even though some of the route is on a busier street, I feel very safe.”


Safety is No. 1


Plastic surgeon Dr. Steven C. Schmidt has a few rules when it comes to bike safety: “First, I always wear a helmet. I cannot imagine riding my bike, on the road or on a trail, without a helmet. Second, I am always alert to what's around me. I never assume that others see me. Third, I try to make myself more visible by wearing bright clothing, using reflective clothing and lights front and rear when it's getting dark. I also obey the rules of the road and give cars the right of way. It's not worth pushing my rights if it means getting hit or having a near miss.”


Dr. Schmidt Biking

Pictured here: Dr. Steven C. Schmidt climbing during the Dairyland Dare.  During a summer in college Dr. Schmidt even rode his bike from Oregon to Delaware, which really cemented his love of biking.  "There are a number of organized rides that I do each year.  Most of these focus on lots of climbing.  In May I travel to Missouri and ride there near where I grew up.  In August I enjoy the Dairyland Dare, near Dodgeville."


Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Alexander Roitstein stresses the importance of safety while on a bike, “I generally ride the Fox River Trail – it starts in my backyard. It’s safe, scenic and leisurely to ride. I’m not comfortable riding on the streets. And I wear a helmet – that’s the most important thing.”


Dr. Roitstein Biking

Dr. Alexander Roitstein poses by his bike on the side of the Fox River Train in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


And it’s healthy!


Dr. Henry rides to stay in shape. “Bicycling is an excellent form of non-impact aerobic exercise; it’s good for our overall health without pounding the joints. Riding a bike is also generally an enjoyable activity that is good for mental health. There are several medical studies showing positive correlation between exercise/physical health and sense of well-being/mental health.”


Dr. Johnson agrees with the thought that biking can be a safer alternative to other aerobic exercises. He was an avid skier earlier in life and after a torn ACL, his rehabilitation specialists suggested bicycling for treatment. He went on to complete the prestigious Ironman in 2008. “You can get your heart rate up into a safe zone and remain there for hours that you can’t do with running.”


Anesthesiologist Dr. Gregory D. Rypel keeps biking to keep eating carbohydrates, “It helps with leg and core muscles, to maintain tone and strength.  I think it’s easier on my knees and hips than running.  It also gives me an excuse to eat carbs. It is also a way to socialize with others while going on group rides or even competing.”


The BayCare Clinic community of physicians reminds you to always wear a helmet, never take a risk and to have fun while biking!

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.