Do kids not get taught about contours?


I’m a British Cycling ‘Go Ride’ coach and help out at 1.5-hour training and technique sessions at the Newcastle Phoenix cycling club on Saturday mornings. At today’s coaching session I took the older kids over to a steep, tussocky hill near our club building.

We rode up the hill the hard way, and only got half way.

I then tried to get the kids to take an easier line, riding up the side of the hill. Instead, most wanted to attack the hill head on again, with predictable results.

As these were kids aged from 12 to 16 I assumed they’d know about contours and started off in this vein. Blank faces all round. I then changed tack and used the phrase ‘line of least resistance’. Again, blank faces.

Are there any teachers reading this? If so, do kids get taught geographical basics? Are contours on the National Curriculum? This is specifically aimed at UK teachers but perhaps teachers from other countries could also chip in?


Without a basic understanding of contour lines, kids will miss out on the wonderful world of mapping, and may not be able to fully enjoy the great outdoors. They may also suck at bike racing.