Michael Weinblatt, MD, is the co-director of clinical rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, past president of the American College of Rheumatology, and co-director of the ACR Winter Rheumatology Symposium at Snowmass, Colo.
Those are some pretty impressive credentials, but nothing appears to make him smile more than his affiliation with another organization—the WYMPS (Waban Young Men’s Pedaling Society).
Since 1990, Dr. Weinblatt, now 65 years old, has been an active member of WYMPS, which is composed of a dozen bicycling enthusiasts, some of whom are doctors. Many have ridden together across the country twice, seen more cities than most people have ever heard of and visited such popular destinations as Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and Mt. Ranier. Every summer, the group picks a new or favorite spot and explores America. Except for practicing medicine, Dr. Weinblatt can’t envision a better way of spending his time.
During Dr. Weinblatt’s junior and senior years in college and his first two years at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, he worked summers as a park ranger at Yellowstone National Park.
“I was an interpretive specialist or naturalist,” he says. “I gave hikes, talks and did some environmental impact research.”
He also bicycled all around Geyser Basin (Old Faithful) and along the park’s paved roads. He earned the distinction of being one of the park’s bicycle rangers.
After he graduated medical school in 1975, other demands were placed on his time. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Maryland Hospital and then pursued his fellowship in rheumatology at Robert Brigham Hospital (now the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School) in Boston between 1978 and 1980.
Nearly a decade later, in 1989, he met two neighbors who were bicyclists. Weather permitting, they started riding about 15 miles each weekday and 25–50 miles every Saturday and Sunday.
The small group grew to five men—all neighbors—who nicknamed themselves the WYMPS. They established a tradition that is still upheld today. The group meets every morning at Starbucks—whether they ride or not—to grab a cup of coffee and chat about family, jobs and whatever else is on their minds. Of course, he adds, “None of this would be possible without the full support of our spouses and children.”