San Francisco's Original Holy Roller Hopes to Export His Passion to Africa

David Miles, Jr., is passionate about rollerskating. After moving to the Bay Area in 1979, he founded the California Outdoor Rollerskating Association and launched regular Sunday gatherings in Golden Gate Park. In 2013, he converted the former Sacred Heart Church on Fillmore and Fell into the Church of 8 Wheels, a rollerskating disco and “rolligious experience.” Now, he hopes to export his love of inline skating to Africa.

As NBC Bay Area reports, Miles has launched a Gofundme campaign to bring members of Nairobi, Kenya’s Ungem Skating Club to San Francisco. Miles already sent 25 pairs of skates to the African club to encourage their burgeoning roller scene, but for $7,000 he hopes to fly three members to SF in July so they can see for themselves a skate club in action.

“I truly believe that Victor and the Ungem Skate Club could be that force that brings the fun, inclusive and healthy aspects of skating to Nairobi, but they need to come to the source – San Francisco, Ca.,” Miles writes on his crowdfunding campaign page.

[jump] Among the specially curated events he wants to show the Kenyan club are the Friday Night Skate, a 12-mile route through the city that he says inspired the bicycle event Critical Mass; the skate street in Golden Gate Park; the Napa Valley Inline Marathon; and, the crown jewel of his work, the Church of 8 Wheels.

Miles hopes to duplicate his success in Kenya. The Ungem Skating Club — whose motto is “Skate Hard, Practice Harder” — describes itself on Facebook like this: “Our talents are the gift that God gives to us…What we make of our talents is our gift back to God.”

Gifts to Miles’s Gofundme, meanwhile, are off to a slow start. Since launching on June 2 he’s raised $215 of the $7,000 he’s seeking. 

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