The Godfather of Skate

In February of 1979, David “D” Miles Jr. boarded a greyhound bus in his hometown of Kansas City and headed to San Francisco. A little over forty years later, Miles Jr. —  a.k.a “The Godfather of Skate” — has helped pave the way for the greater roller skating community in San Francisco. 

At 21 years old, Miles Jr. came to San Francisco wide-eyed and ready to begin a new life, after spending a majority of his young life in Kansas City and briefly in the military. He began skating at a young age in roller rinks when his sisters were forced to bring their younger brother along. After arriving in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park was his first encounter with people roller skating outdoors. 

“They said, ‘the park is closed to car traffic on Sundays and thousands of skaters come out. You should come,’” said Miles Jr. “It was magic, and I came every Sunday.”

Roller skaters at the time were taking full advantage of car-free Sundays in the park, until the museums located around the Music Concourse began banning skating in their permitted areas. 

Miles Jr. and other skaters responded with the formation of San Francisco’s Skate Patrol, a roller skating community safety patrol made up of a group of volunteers that helped prevent roller skating from being banned in Golden Gate Park. 

“We were like a family,” said Miles Jr. “Skate patrol never died, it just kind of evolved into the community of skaters itself.”

Since then, Miles Jr. has continued to lead the push to create spaces for roller skating — like in the newly renovated Golden Gate Park’s 6th Ave. Skate Spot, San Francisco’s Friday Night City Skate and one of his proudest creations, The Church of 8 Wheels. Once a vacant Catholic church located in the Fillmore Neighborhood, Miles Jr. and his family own and operate one of San Francisco’s most beloved roller skating rinks. 

“For me, life is complete and full when I can share any of this with others,” said Miles Jr. “When you come in and that music is bumping and everyone is happy, you don’t think about nothing else.”