INDEX 3

2006: FULL SPEED AHEAD
What a year it’s been! After the pleasantly unrepulsive-looking aliens landed in Hyde Park, narrowly avoiding being shot down by the RAF after buzzing Buckingham Palace and frightening all the Queen’s corgis into blessed comas, then showed humanity the blueprint for a lasting peace - melting all the guns helped - and downloaded the cure for cancer into all the world’s computers, mobile phones and BlackBerries almost as an afterthought, you’d be forgiven for supposing it couldn’t get any better. (Apologies to readers in a different timeline.) Here’s what the stars have to say about 2006, if I’m reading them right.

Capricorn
Never unfold your Brompton unless you mean it: nobody likes a tease. In fact your love life will resemble one of these, as it’s fiddly, fun, and expensive. Remember that big surprises can come in small packages, but there’s a limit which is more practical than theoretical.

Aquarius
You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, or a veterinarian to tell you that your cat has fleas, but the professions do have their place, so you should definitely pay attention to your mechanic if he makes the sign of the cross after you wheel your bicycle into the shop. Time for a new one. No, it doesn’t have to be all carbon-fibre.

Pisces
After years of multigear debauchery the scales will be lifted from your eyes and you’ll cross over to the One True Faith: Fixed. You will convert some, repel others, translate the relevant Sheldon Brownian texts into Welsh, run a mission house and cake stop for the hopelessly trendy and await the righteous fire which shall consume unbelievers and any sheep unlucky enough to be loitering in the vicinity.

Aries
During the course of a loft conversion you discover evidence of a lost civilisation not even hinted at by historians or the caretakers of digital BBC. Citizens of this mysterious tribe appear to have given themselves wholly over to the pursuit not of money, but of mileage, their miraculously preserved bicycle computers telling the sad tale of their decline and fall as they rode obsessively into that good night, unwilling to stop even for a shag to save themselves from extinction.

Taurus
Your idea to leave the rat race and start a courier company is not a bad one, but if the main reason you’re attracted to that way of life is all the trackstands then you might want to rethink your business model. There are many other occupations where inertia can be practiced for months or years amongst admiring co-workers, rather than seconds or minutes at a stoplight for the benefit of a fleeting crowd of strangers.

Gemini
Not much will happen this year that didn’t happen last year, so you should be well prepared. Make your PIN number the same as your birthday; it's so obvious no one will ever guess. While you’re at it, mark valuables with the Alpha-Dot security system in wide use in churches. If it’s good enough for God it’s good enough for you.

Cancer
At an intersection you’ll have a chance meeting with Jeremy Paxman, Jon Snow, Boris Johnson, and Adam Hart-Davis, all on their bikes. The traffic signal will get stuck on red. With Paxman fuming “Come on, come on,” Johnson on his mobile to his hairdresser, Snow using the downtime to interview an Iraqi cabbie and Hart-Davis fending off science show groupies, who are the absolute worst, you decide anonymity has its benefits and blow the light.

Leo
Celibacy in the work environment will gain you new respect but few promotions. Parking in the boss’s space won’t help any, and he’s not going to be swayed by the argument that your recumbent wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Freshen your CV with a bold splash of fiction. This is your year to seize the moment, all 31,536,000 of them, assuming for the sake of argument a moment is a second and doing the math.

Virgo
The endlessly looping music video in which you star (i.e. your life) has gone over budget. Bankruptcy looms. To show creditors you’re serious, consider selling your children or less clever pets unless you're really quite fond of them. Nobody said anything about selling the bikes. On the bright side, your house will continue to rise in value, unless you’re daft enough put it on the market. Live the dream.

Libra
Pump up your tyres! All the way! Don’t be shy! The transit of Mercury demands it. Speaking of which, you will fall in love with a white van man, or woman, leading to the awkwardness of a mixed marriage. The inevitable though equitable divorce will leave you with three wheels each, a fine basis for HPV bliss.

Scorpio
It’s all quite vague, which is no reason to panic. Wait until it’s clear you have something to panic about. Fish, for example. Have you ever wondered what would happen if they were to evolve and start showing an interest in our affairs? Or if they needed a bicycle somewhat more than a woman needs a man? Pure madness. And let’s not even discuss squid hand signals. Suffice it to say relationships with Pisces are contraindicated.

Sagittarius
If your tandem feels odd that’s because you left your partner back at the pub. Think fast: turn around, or keep pedaling? Who will notice first? The days of wine and roses may have turned into bank holiday weekends of cider and petunias, but in other respects life is going according to plan, and even your disastrous tiling job in the downstairs loo has a purpose in the grand scheme. As long as you remember to never lock your bike to a large dog, you’re ahead of the game.

Cycling Plus, January 2006