Two years, three months and three days.
Or 816 days to be exact.
That is how long it had been since I bought my son his first bike for his fifth birthday.
On a cold, miserable November day in London, I carried the bike to our home, radiating in the warmth of the thought of the joy I’d be bringing my son.
The bike was, and still is, an army green but little was I to know about the combat that lay in front of me.
After the initial joy of receiving the bike, Sam was not certain of it.
We tried to take him out on it during the winter but other than making sure the training wheels were flat on the ground, he made little progress.
As the weather warmed, we tried again.
Sam didn’t mind his bike but didn’t want the slightest of wobbles.
We threatened to take off his training wheels. He refused to budge.
I threatened in fury to give the bike away. He successfully called my bluff.
So a year after the arrival of the bike it was packed up and sent back to Australia with the rest of our possessions.
Back home, we tried with little success.
I considered a change of tactics and took off the training wheels.
Sam was up for the challenge. Well, sort of.
He begrudgingly came along but empowered with knowledge of the brakes, stopped the bike as soon as he felt I was no longer in contact with it.
He managed to crash in such a way as to take the maximum amount of bark off his leg and wonder what form of child abuse I was subjecting him to.
So the unwanted cycle continued.
Sam refused to get back on the bike, Dad’s face became flushed with anger. Mum told Dad to calm down. Dad got even angrier and Sam wondered what impact the bike was having on the family unit.
After countless aborted attempts, bike riding went into hiatus … again.
The bike sat in the shed during winter and Sam wondered when I was going to give it away to another boy.
But it stayed, never underestimate how long a tightwad will hold onto a bike he forked out 100 pounds for.
Another summer rolled around and there was brief talk of Sam having another crack at riding the bike.
For the benefit of the father-son relationship, it was put on hold. Why spoil a golden summer?
Then it happened. The Eureka moment. Having travelled to Thredbo on short notice for a quick family break, we lucked on arriving at the same time as a round of the Australian mountain biking national series.
By this stage, I was never going to convince Sam to try cycling again. That ship had sailed, hit an iceberg and sank into the Mariana Trench.
But cool, young guys strutting around the alpine village and charging down the mountain with gravity-defying skills, well that was different.
So after hours watching them practise, Sam wanted to have a go. He didn’t want to ride a bike anymore, he wanted to mountain bike.
With immaculate timing, his enthusiasm came a few minutes after the bike hire shop had shut for the day.
He woke up the next morning, not so sure. He had had too much time to think about it and wanted to chicken out.
It was in the balance again. With the sort of pep talk that would make Dr Phil proud, I lured him onto the village green.
I pushed him off and this time, this time, he kept on pedalling and pedalling.
He only went for a dozen metres before his customary fall to the right and slight grazing of the back of the leg from the chain.
But it didn’t matter. He knew he could do it and jumped up and down in celebration. In front of about two dozen people at a fly fishing clinic, I looked to the heavens and yelled expletives of joy.
Call it mountain magic, I don’t care. 816 days after buying my son a bike, he was riding one.
IF YOU GO
GETTING THERE: Thredbo is 5.5-hour drive south-west from Sydney, 2.5 hours from Canberra and about 7.5 from Melbourne.
STAYING THERE: A three-night stay (outside peak season) at a two-bedroom apartment at Thredbo Alpine Apartments costs $454 as part of the three-for-two package.
PLAYING THERE: There is hiking and biking for all levels of fitness. The kids will love the bobsled and the aquatics centre, which includes a waterslide. Plus, there are tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course and fly fishing opportunities on Thredbo River. For more info and pricing on activities, go to thredbo广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,. For the Kids Play Free Family Adventure, go to thredbo广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,/packages/family-adventure.
*The writer travelled as a guest of Thredbo Resort