I love training outside. There are a few things I look for in my favorite spots. While it is rare to find something that encompasses everything you may be looking for, I love spots that have a good mixture of soft and hard surfaces/objects. When it comes to freerunning, I prefer landing on grass most of the time, and of course for parkour you need a variety of ledges at different distances for jumps. Which brings me to my first spot.
#3) The “warm-up” spot!
Just east of the UCR Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production, is the most frequent meet up/warm up spot for parkour sessions at UCR. So much in fact that if it weren’t for games like add/on, and STICK, I would probably be burnt out on this spot. Besides being fondly called “the warm-up spot” it is commonly called “Yellow Sign spot” for its easily visible yellow welcome signs which tower around this spot.
What I really do love at this spot is its infinite amount of jump challenges that you can create because it has so many different shapes and sizes of concrete structures. Ranging from squares and circles to benches all meant for sitting and hanging out but designed with an artistic abstractness that inspires creativity. They are spaced out at lots of different distances from one another and nothing is much higher than about hip height so it's great for any jump enthusiast of any experience level.
The downside of this warmup spot is most of the ground is dirt which can make run ups pretty tricky and sometimes even the concrete run ups from the outside edge of the spot are slick as well. Still, it is a good central hub and it is split into 2 parts so it is good for bigger groups too. Nearby there are more structures with grass around them for basic vaults, and a few other spots that are a little more niche but are a lot of fun if you like getting creative. One day I want to try starting on the opposite side of UCR and working my way from there to see what I can find.
#2) The Food Court
Another of my favorite spots is the food court area. This one has everything you need, ledges, grass, trees, stairs and handrails. It is just east of the UCR Panda Express and is a short walk south/ south east from the warm up spot. This spot also feels a lot less cluttered than some, with more space in between obstacles.
Urban laches are rare to find. When I was shown the tree lache at this spot it became one of my favorite challenges to do here and to use in lines at this spot. It can be done by starting in hang on the branch, starting in a tricky cat, or from a tic tac/wall pop(or I should say tree pop). I really enjoy this spot for freerunning more so than parkour. I actually have a line bookmarked to come back to that I couldn’t quite put together the way I wanted to last time.
#1) DOWNHILL DEMOLITION
From the warm up spot, if you head east just a ways past the University Lecture Hall, you will pass a series of stair sets and a handicap ramp. What makes this handicap ramp special is the way they have added in a couple specific rails across the pathway which appear to serve as a deterrent from skating or biking down this pedestrian traffic heavy area. I jokingly call it Downhill Demolition because I just imagine so much chaos and awesome lines going through this spot via parkour, skating, or BMX. It feels like a perfect spot out of the video game SKATE in my mind.
So starting from the top, you have walls on either side of a slightly declining ramp, and then bars “in the way” before another slanting walk way, and at the bottom there is another rail blocking your path. To the left is a small planter bed with a tree and small drop and to the right is a wall with a diagonal wall on top of it. While you can make fairly straight moving lines, I like bouncing between the surrounding walls and obstacles like a human pinball descending its way to the bottom of the ramps. There are some other pretty massive challenges right here as well, like a big standing jump that I have never been in the impact taking mood for but will cross off the list on the right day.
Among many honorable mentions, my favorite spots are the nooks or challenge-specific spots that often get passed during a group session or big parkour jam. One of my favorite things about parkour is the infinite level of possibility. I love finding challenges with my friends, but even more, I like exploring and seeing an empty space in whatever way I feel like moving in that day. Check out these spots and have fun looking for your own challenges and spots at UCR!