The time has come for some changes around the Tandem Armidale camp. In some respect these changes are quite large, and will impact the way we do some things. In other ways nothing will change.
I moved to Armidale while I was in year 11, and finished my schooling at Duval High before moving on to study at the University of New England and then to work for both the University at it’s Students’ Association (not the same one as exists now) followed by Service UNE which picked up the Students’ Association functions post VSU.
I first tried tandem riding in around 2005, and fell in love. Eventually I purchased my first tandem, an Apollo Sport. My problem was finding people to ride with, but a few people lent themselves to that.
Eventually I took a job in Sydney and moved to Wollongong, where I met Tim, who I started riding with. Soon after we met Geoff (stoker) and Peter, and slowly a group started to form. The group became Exsight Tandems. Over the years the group has grown, spawned a spin-off in Sydney, and the core group in the Illawarra continues to go from strength to strength.
Exsight is now an incorporated association, and a registered charity, so donations are tax deductible.
When I returned to Armidale in 2012, I did so with a bike from Exsight. With that I started to ride with Dave, before we got Black Betty. When I rode Around the Bay in 2013, I did so on a bike from Exsight.
When we started this Tandem Armidale thing, it was with the hope that others might join in, that it might grow in a similar way. So far progress on that front has been slow.
In the meantime we’ve been trying to raise funds, and doing that as an individual is tough. People are more hesitant to donate when there’s little accountability from an individual. A not-for-profit has a wider scope for fund-raising, and a donor has certainty that their gift is going to the right place.
So after some discussions, Tandem Armidale is becoming a branch of Exight Tandems.
Tandem Armidale will continue to be the name we use for our group, though you’ll see us including appropriate acknowledgement as part of Exsight. The team are members of Exsight, and the association will look after the finances. Importantly, though, we’re aiming to keep the the funding pools separate – money given to Exsight will stay in the Illawarra, money given to Tandem Armidale will stay in the New England.
Beyond that, we’ll be sharing our other skills and expertise between the groups. And of course we’re all friends.
So here’s to a bright future for Tandem Armidale, an Exsight Tandem Team.