Early in his career, Riker worked at Tokyo Base, where he helped work out the Fuurinkazan battle strategies. Subsequently he was posted to a starbase, where in 2353, he was the sole survivor of a devastating attack by the Tholians. Afterward, he became a tactical adviser at Starbase Montgomery.
Kyle Riker's only child, Starfleet officer William T. Riker, was born in 2335. Two years later, Kyle and William suffered a devastating loss when Kyle's wife Betty Riker died suddenly. This initial trauma created a rift between the two Rikers which lasted nearly thirty years.
The Rikers remained in Alaska at Betty's wish. The only thing which kept Kyle going was Will, but he did not feel as if he could discuss the situation with him, even when Will was older. The memories of Betty's presence at their Alaska home were also painful for both. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor") Kyle hated cooking, and after Betty's death he left the duty to Will. (TNG: "Time Squared") Riker had a recipe for split pea soup, which his son Will enjoyed. (TNG: "The Outcast")
In 2344, the two went on a fishing trip. Will was able to hook a large fish, but Kyle insisted on reeling the fish in. This incident would bother Will for many years. Kyle and his son also played anbo-jyutsu occasionally. Kyle admitted that by the time Will was twelve, his skills were superior. Will did not learn until years later that the only reason he always lost was because his father used an illegal move called hachidan kiritsu.
In 2350, Kyle suffered some type of emotional breakdown and abandoned his son; they would not speak to one another again for another fifteen years. He later became involved with Doctor Katherine Pulaski, who said that she would have married him were it not for that Riker had "other priorities." (TNG: "The Icarus Factor", "Future Imperfect")
Kyle and his son were reunited in 2365 when Will, now first officer on the USS Enterprise-D, was offered command of the USS Aries and Kyle came aboard the Enterprise to brief Will on the Aries and its current mission. Though Will ultimately turned down command of the Aries, he and Kyle took the opportunity to finally settle their differences. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor")
In 2361 Kyle Riker was given another son when William Riker was duplicated in a transporter accident creating Thomas Riker, though no one was aware of his existence until 2369. Soon after learning of Thomas Riker's existence, William Riker noted that they should tell their father. (TNG: "Second Chances")