Spreading the word in an effort to hold off middle-age spread

Paul McHugh, Chronicle Outdoors Writer

March 16, 2006

He's a big wheel in the kingdom of small wheels. San Francisco's David Miles has inspired and guided in-line and roller-skate events in Northern California for 27 years. Now, he's starting a campaign to close portions of Golden Gate Park's roads to vehicle traffic on Saturdays -- just as is done on Sundays. The campaign will be launched at 2 p.m. on April 9 at the "Skatin' Place," 6th Avenue and JFK Drive in the park.

This thrust for Healthy Saturday road closures arrives as part of Miles' focus on increased exercise and health. Facing life in his 50s, dealing with the onslaught of middle-age spread, Miles recently took his level of fitness in hand, paring away 55 pounds with a regimen of twice-daily workouts and plenty of skating.

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"I want to take the benefits of what I'm doing now, and offer it to as many people as can hear it," Miles said. "You don't have to submit to having an unhealthy life. You can fight obesity by making your workouts fun to do. Get your body outside on skates. For all those people who have seen New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside, this is an alternative."

Miles, long famed as the "godfather of skate," added to his rolling resume by becoming the master of ceremonies and DJ of the Black Rock Roller Disco at Burning Man. Upcoming events created through his CORA organization include:

Friday Night Skate -- Canceled by rain for the last three weeks, forecasts suggest this loosely organized, rolling tour of San Francisco should go as scheduled this week. Meet at 8:30 p.m. at the Ferry Plaza (foot of Market Street), then start skating at 9 p.m. on a ramble that lasts 21/2 hours and covers about 10 miles. New to the skate is a soundtrack, belted out by "Porta Parties" -- baby strollers toting batteries and stereos; if you want extra exercise, volunteer to push one of these buggies. This outing is a tour, not a race. There's only one rule: Wear a helmet.

April 9 Events -- The Greg Levien Memorial 50K Skate Race starts at 9:15 a.m. at the junction of Caņada Road and Highway 92 on the Peninsula. Loop is 10K. Entry: $30 (general), $20 (members). Prizes and certificates awarded for top three places in each division.

Easter Parade -- Skaters are invited to participate in a parade beginning at 2 p.m. on April 16, at Union and Gough streets. The costume theme is the same as last year's: The Cows Come Back to Cow Hollow. So, go spotty or go home.

Crystal Springs In-line Marathon -- Starting from the same site as the Greg Levin event, the marathon begins at 9:15 a.m. on May 14. Entry: $30 (general), $20 (members).

Napa Valley In-line Skate, marathon route -- A race (or tour) on the scenic Silverado Trail, starts at 7 a.m. on June 18. Entry: $50 (adult members) and $30 (youth members) or $60 (general adults) and $40 (general youth) until April 30; $65 and $45, or $75 and $55 (respectively) after May 1.

More info: call (415) 752-1967 or go to

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