Susie Rushton: Ugly shoes or a bike – there's no contest

Urban Notebook

Share
Related Topics

You see them in the traffic, zipping along the inside, faster than everyone else. I was a smug cyclist for a while as well, but too many times, as an unseen lorry lumbered past, just inches away from me, I felt in my chest the ghostly impact of an almost-accident. In the end I left my bashed-up bike to the vultures, tied to a railing in Whitechapel, and submitted to London Transport.

But since The Independent's HQ has been transplanted across the city, to just one postcode away from my flat, I've been liberated from any kind of serious commute.

On Monday, for the first time in seven years, I walked all the way to work. That probably doesn't sound like a big deal if you live in a town, or else is unimaginable if you live in the country, but in the capital it's pretty much the acme of convenience. Free from the grip of the Oyster card, I don't have to hear about minding gaps, people on tracks or signal failures. Neither will I miss the armpits, bad breath, foul tempers, rolling eyes, sharp elbows and JanSport backpacks of the subterranean set.

However, my footwear now sucks. Because after 10 minutes of pounding the pavement, I remembered that while you can pedal in heels, for the city-walker, any type of feminine shoe is out. Somewhere near Olympia, my heels caught fire. Blisters bloomed on every toe. I quit and jumped on a bus.

On the second day, I did what lots of women do and slipped on a pair of battered Nikes and carried the sandals in my bag. It is the practical, but fundamentally unstylish answer. It's also what Lorraine from The Apprentice would do. And I've spent far too much time and money on amassing an intriguing collection of shoes to settle for that.

The stark choice then, is between ugly shoes or death/cycling. Perhaps I'll buy a bike.

Food with attitude

You can eat any ethnic cuisine you fancy in this city – and plenty that you don't fancy, too. Last night we found ourselves in the basement dining room of a Georgian restaurant, eating giant bowls of borscht, pictured, with black bread, steaming vine leaves stuffed with spicy lamb, and a fried baby chicken that appeared to have been punched, quite flat, into the afterlife.

I say "found ourselves" because, like all underground restaurants, this one draws you inside against your will. By the time you reach the bottom of the stairs, the desperately friendly waiter has shuffled you towards a table, and there's no going back. To walk out, after you've actually sat down in the near-empty room and perused the menu, especially one that carefully, heartbreakingly, includes a map of Europe showing exactly where Georgia is – I just couldn't spare the blushes.

Instead, we dined on what may be the sturdiest food I've every tried. If they can fight like they cook, Putin should be worried.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little