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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Roller skate rentals in Golden Gate Park a 'dream come true' for the 'Godfather of Skate'

If you've ever strolled or rolled through the JFK Promenade in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on a Sunday, you've probably noticed all the fun the roller skaters are having. Well, you don't have to feel the FOMO (feeling of missing out) anymore. Now you can get in on the fun, with roller skate rentals kicking off in the park this weekend.

Skate rentals will officially be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Skatin' Place near 6th Avenue and Fulton Street. Inline skates and roller skates will both be available.

David Miles Jr., also known as the ‘Godfather of Skate’, is the founder of the Church of 8 Wheels and a longtime skating advocate. He's also the steward of Skatin' Place, the aforementioned fun and festive part of the park on the promenade that is known to attract roller skaters from all walks of life.

Miles, usually adorned in his own eccentric and stylish fashions, owns DMJ Skate Sports Marketing LLC. As we've previously reported, he's dedicated his life to spreading positivity and fun through skating. The Church of 8 Wheels, on Fillmore Street, is a decommissioned 19th century church that was converted into a roller rink in 2013. Within this sanctuary, he spreads his form of ‘rolligion’ to his holy rollers.

Now, his movement seems to be spreading in an official capacity through this partnership with Rec & Parks.

"It's like a dream come true, really," said Miles. He said this is a long overdue development. People come from all over to enjoy watching skaters and to skate. People always ask, "Where can I get skates? And there is nowhere to get skates."

According to park historians, skating in Golden Gate Park dates back to 1891 when John McLaren, the park's designer and first superintendent, built a roller rink at Children's Playground. It wasn't until much later that roller skating reached mainstream prominence in the 1970s. It was during this era that skaters started coming to the park in droves. Park officials estimate it was thousands who descended upon the park on any given weekend.

Legend has it, this popularity led to the formation of the Golden Gate Park Skate Patrol, an ambassador group led by Miles. He said the last time the park had skate rentals available was in 1981. "You drove your van, and you'd put a sign out and rent skates," he said. By 1982, he said, they were all gone. Recreational equipment vendors in the park were outlawed.

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