|In 1979 Miles was stepped off a Greyhound bus from Missouri.
After a couple of days in the Tenderloin, Miles visited Golden Gate Park and promptly fell
in love with The City's skating scene. As many as 20,000 people skated in the park on any
given weekend during the roller skating heydays of the late 1970's.
Fads have come and
go, but roller skating has managed to survive, in no small part because of Miles. He has
weathered the peaks and valleys in the popularity of roller skating and helped hold
together the tight-knit community.
Various people wandered up to thank and congratulate Miles or to simply seek advise on
roller skating matters. Miles organized countless events including weekly Midnight Rollers
Friday night skates along the Embarcadero, and even produced a cable access show called
"Skatin' Place Live," which won awards in the late 1990s. He is coordinator for
the Golden Gate Park Skate Patrol and president of the California Outdoor Rollerskating
Association. Miles has also been a driving force in political battles trying to close off
Golden Gate Park to traffic on Saturdays, and making The City's streets more accessible to
One member of the eclectic skating community, 42-year-old San Francisco native Elliott
Johnson, discovered the scene around the same time as Miles. Sporting a flowing red
bandanna with a red headband and red leg warmers over red skates, he described what he
loves about the sport. "To come out here and to skate with the other people, to
learn, to see other things...and to see so many people expressing themselves in their own
way, it's a wonderful feeling," he said.
Terrance Smith, a 46-year old native San Franciscan sporting Elvis shades and slicked
back hair, also waxed eloquent about roller skating's disco and hiphop history, while he
acknowledged Miles' importance in The City's skating community.
Miles tried to explain the essence of the scene that has come to dominate his everyday
life, and why it has lasted. "It's not exactly just skating, it has a lot to do with
the community of skaters," he said. "There's very few things where all you got
to do is show up and you belong to a group of people that are fun, and just have no weight
on you." "You don't have to dress a certain way, act a certain way, be a certain
color, it don't matter," Miles added. "The music is universal, the dancing. It's
just sort of an accident, like most things that are successful."
With his eight-wheeled twirls and spins, Johnson took the time to write a poem for the
"Godfather" in a 25th anniversary photo album present for Miles that was making
the rounds among the die-hard skaters. The last verse read, "And though it's not
enough, thank you is all we can say, as the sun sets down on us, each and every