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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


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. Jon Henry and wife

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


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. Peter Johnson Aurora BayCare Gynecologic Oncologist

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 and family abroad

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.


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.”


BayCare Clinic plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Schmidt

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. Alexander Roitstein

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!