By Phil Dailey
Thirty-eight years ago, the Riedler brothers set off on a cross-country bicycle trek, a sorta send-off for Scott who was heading to Dartmouth College. It was 1974 and Scott wanted a “last fling” (as it was reported in an August 1974 story published in the La Jolla Light) before he embarked on the next stage of his young life.
That last fling proved not to be a final chapter in the brothers’ exploration on two wheels.
That trip, nearly four decades ago, was only the beginning of what has become a family tradition.
Earlier this summer, Scott was joined once again by his brothers Mark, Tim and Alan as the foursome set out to conquer Yellowstone National Park, cycling 700 miles through Montana, Wyoming and into the smoke-filled mountains of Idaho.
“It was a great way to see Yellowstone because you’re going slow enough where you can look around and take it all in,” said Mark, a dentist in North Park. “It’s just the best.”
Along the mountain roads the group biked summits nearly 11,000 feet along Beartooth Highway, dodged herds of bison, hiked the Grand Tetons near Jackson, Wyo., crossed the Continental Divide and saw the wildfires near Stanley, Idaho.
During the past 12 years, the foursome has completed five bicycle trips that include rides through Oregon, Northern California, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
“When I was a kid I initially got the idea of riding across the country after graduation and I got my brothers to come with me,” said Scott, a neurologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “And ever since then, we got back into the routine of riding once a week on the weekends, every Sunday morning at the crack of dawn.”
The brothers also take one big bike trip every few years, plus a biking excursions that also double as a reunion for the Riedlers. Tim, who is an attorney in Moscow with USAID, only makes it back to La Jolla every few years. So what else would four brothers want to do to catch up?
“It’s kinda to celebrate when Tim comes home,” said Alan Riedler, the youngest of the four brothers. “It’s to do something together. It seems like a natural thing to do.”
Bicycling for the Riedlers is about as natural as hearing the waves crash at WindanSea. The Rielders relocated to La Jolla from La Mesa in the late 1960s and grew up on Skylark Drive. Biking and skateboarding up steep hills was normal. It was something they did every day going to school or delivering newspapers to the rest of the community.
“It was definitely a hill to go anywhere on our bikes,” Scott said. “Ravenswood Road is one of the steepest hills in San Diego and we would ride up it every morning.”
They may not have know it then, but biking up the hills of La Jolla provided the necessary training for biking across the byways of the western United States.
The current trip for the Rielders, which started in Red Lodge, Mont., on the outskirts of Yellowstone, was about as successful as it could have been. There were few setbacks, but a couple challenges along the way with headwinds and a herd of bison.
“Each and every one of us had an encounter with bison,” said Alan, a paralegal in La Jolla. “We were within 30 or 40 feet of one and even closer than that and concerned for our safety. It was scary. It was scary for all of us.”
The group did travel with an RV, something they definitely didn’t have back in 1974.
The group also traveled with the newest member of their group. Joining the brothers this time was Laurens, Tim’s 15-year-old son. “This is my third trip, but my first trip for cycling,” he said.
And it likely won’t be the last trip for any of them.
Thought Scott, who is the mastermind behind the excursions, has yet to figure out the group’s next journey, they are committed to continue this family tradition.
“The more remarkable thing about this is that we are all in our 50s,” Tim said. “Mark is the oldest at 59, Alan is the youngest at 52. For all four of us to be doing cycling like this — 700 miles in a summer, 38 years after we started doing this, is unusual.”
Unusual, yes, but normal for the Rielder brothers of La Jolla.