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Storied: San Francisco

Dec 14, 2021

David G. Miles, Jr., is the godfather of skate in San Francisco.

In this podcast, the founder of the Church of 8 Wheels joins us to share his life story. David came from a multi-ethnic family and grew up in Kansas City. On one side, his grandparents were Irish and Indian, while his dad's family hailed from the South. His single mom, a nurse, raised David and his sisters. The Black baseball legend Satchel Paige lived in their neighborhood.

His parents had divorced when David was 6 or 7 and he wasn't close with his dad at all. It was the Sixties and he didn't care much about differences in people. His mom eventually fell in love with her high school sweetheart and moved to San Francisco to marry him when David was 20.

"Kansas City is a place you leave," according to David. And so, after a bit of urging from his mom and a brutal winter in Kansas, he saved up bus fare and got a one-way ticket out west.

The bus dropped David and the other passengers at Seventh and Market, which was quite the contrast from anything he'd seen before. His new step-dad drove him around town as a welcome to San Francisco.

The family lived in Daly City at first and David was infatuated with BART. He recounts his first visit to Golden Gate Park shortly after his arrival here in February 1979. Folks lying on the grass in front of the Conservatory of Flowers didn't impress him much. But what did catch his eye was thousands of roller skaters in the park that day. He was hooked.

Roller skating was huge in those days, but there was a growing drumbeat of outrage and bans were being threatened. It was around this time that David met Rose, whom he courted and eventually married.

Check back Thursday for Part 2 and the story of the founding of the Church of 8 Wheels.

​We recorded this podcast at the Church of 8 Wheels in November 2021.

Photography by Michelle Kilfeather