Forty years ago, the Golden Gate Park Skate Patrol halted a roller skating ban in the park. Roller skaters celebrated the anniversary on Saturday true to form — by rolling, spinning and dancing to music at a paved lot in Hunters Point.
“I am the godfather of skating here in San Francisco,” said David G. Miles Junior, who organized the Roller Revival Festival and runs the Church of 8 Wheels.
He started skating at Golden Gate Park back in 1979, when he first came to San Francisco. By that point, the city had banned skating in several areas of the park over safety concerns.
“So me and my friends got together and joined the Skate Patrol, which was the group that was told that if we could manage the people in the areas, then they wouldn't ban skating,” he said.
And, it worked.
“And here it is, like 2019. Some of the original skaters are still here with me," said Colleen Jones, who started skating 25 years ago in Golden Gate Park. "Oh I love to spin."
Roller skaters with decades of experience, like Jones, helped the beginners find their footing.
But, a word for the wise: it's not as easy as it looks, said KQED’s Sonja Hutson, who laced up a pair of skates outdoors for the first time.
Harry Williams also taught his kids how to roller skate, but his daughter's skate flew off when she took her first tumble of the day.
"We have a saying for that," said Aimee Bruckner, a roller skating instructor. "'Skate until your wheels fall of.'"