We Roller Disco in SF Thanks to This Awesome Guy

Jun 17 at 9am

For years there have been individuals that I’ve seen around town who captured my imagination. This project, Drawn From the City, became an excuse to find out about their lives through interviews, documenting the cultural life-blood of the city. – Crystal Vielula

David Miles Jr.

What is your occupation?

I’m a skater – when you get down to it, that’s what I am.

Why do you run the Sunday roller rink in Golden Gate Park?

I’ve been here for 35 years. I’ve only done it because I’m having fun. I love skating. We have a really super unique thing. You don’t have to know anybody, you don’t have to be in a certain age group or money group, you can be from anywhere. This is how I got into it. I just showed up here one day. This wouldn’t work in a different city; this is the happiest place you could be. 

What is special about the roller skating community?

It’s a great great community, you can leave something here on Sunday and it will be here the next Sunday.  It’s about how you should treat your fellow man and how you should exist on the planet. If you look at this whole thing (the Sunday skate rink in Golden Gate Park) you don’t see an ad for any businesses. You don’t need all that. There are no cars, no gas, it's away from the TV, you’re interacting with people. That’s probably the biggest part of it, interaction with people. We are happy people.

What is your favorite neighborhood?

I see neighborhoods differently then most people because I skate through them. They are all kinda cool. I like the Embarcadero, it’s great. I wanna have an outdoor roller rink there. I don’t know any places that I don’t like.

There’s no black people at Burning Man; there are 70,000 people at Burning Man and there might be 50 black people stretched out over the entire place. It’s not designed that way but it just happened. The idea is to be pimpin’ on the playa, we are so cool, we styling, we profiling, and we at Burning Man because we can do anything we want there. You don’t even have to wear clothes.

What is your style inspiration?

I call myself a Long Rider. The Long Riders [wear] fur leggings, the long fur vest, the fur arm bands (you have to work on the arms too), and the cowboy hat. I have seven of these hats.

I like the whole costuming thing. It all comes from Burning Man. The only reason I went to Burning Man was because they have a roller rink. There’s no black people at Burning Man; there are 70,000 people at Burning Man and there might be 50 black people stretched out over the entire place. It’s not designed that way but it just happened. 

A lot of people wear long furry coats but this is not a coat – it’s not designed to close, it’s designed to be open for the quick draw. The idea is to be pimpin’ on the playa, we are so cool, we styling, we profiling, and we at Burning Man because we can do anything we want there. You don’t even have to wear clothes.

Who is your designer?

Rose Miles, my wife, who I met here in Golden Gate Park in June of ’79.

What brought you to San Francisco?

I was living in Kansas City – it was bad there, and I came here to change my life. My third day here in San Francisco I heard about this [Golden Gate] park. I came out and saw it, I saw people go by on skates, and I was like “Wow, I can do that.” Since then, I’ve done Skate Patrol, LA Skates (roller skating from San Francisco to Los Angeles), Burning Man, The Church, and Friday Night Skate, which is all around the world now. My family and I went to Paris for the Discovery Channel and there were 30,000 people doing Friday Night Skate. To them I’m the king of the world. It would be one thing if I was trying.

How did Friday Night Skate start?

When the 1989 earthquake hit we went up on the Embarcadero freeway and started skating. Every Thursday we would have meetings and then go skate. But then The Simpsons and In Living Color started on Thursday nights so we switched to Fridays, and Friday Night Skate was born.

Check back in next Tuesday for more Drawn from the City.

Got an idea for a conceptual piece for The Bold Italic? Email us at tips@thebolditalic.com. 

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