Loss, remorse and (expensive) redemption

One moment Maggie was there. And then she wasn’t.


my last photo of Maggie

How I could be so shockingly, senselessly stupid? Can I blame endorphins? Early Saturday morning, I rode downtown and took an exercise class. Then I headed over to Lafayette Street, which was closed to car traffic for Summer Streets, an annual event billed as “part bike tour, part walking tour, part block party.” The plan was to ride up to Chelsea, where a young chef friend was doing a cooking demo.

The day was lovely, a bit cloudy and not too warm. The street was full of people strolling, chatting and cycling. I saw two Bromptons outside Bicycle Habitat, and stopped for a nice talk with the owners. It was such fun to sail up a normally car-choked street! My cheeks ached from grinning.

When I reached the site of my pal’s demo, I parked Maggie – unlocked! – and darted into the crowd for a minute to look for my friend. A minute was all it took, of course. A man standing nearby said he’d seen a guy unfold Maggie and ride away. “You should have locked it,” he said. Gee, thanks.

The police arrived quickly, took my statement and didn’t make me feel worse than I already did. They were impressed that I was able to email them a photo of Maggie and provide her serial number. They were not optimistic that I’d see her again.

I got home, curled into a ball and cried.  Mr. Unfolded listened patiently to my breast-beating, then encouraged me to go buy a new bike. “I don’t deserve a Brompton!” I wailed. He rolled his eyes, agreed I’d done a really stupid thing, and told me to get over it. So I let him drag me to NYCeWheels.

This time, I opted for an M6L. The 2014 model (same as the 2013) has several improvements over the 2012, including better brake levers and a sturdier chain guard. In homage to Maggie, I stayed with black, a Brooks saddle and a blue/black Mini O bag. I added a set of  Origin 8 Light Bars, sleek and very bright.

I picked up my new bike on Monday. Name is still under consideration as we get acquainted. The Brooks saddle is comfortable already, and I’m experimenting with all the combos that six speeds allow.

And I am never, never letting this one out of my sight. My Saturday euphoria, and the festival atmosphere of Summer Streets, lulled me into believing that NYC is a benevolent place – a heartbreaking, costly mistake that I won’t make again. Homeowners’ insurance will likely cover most of the expense, but I feel like I’ve lost a friend.

Goodbye, Maggie. You served me well, and I should have looked after you better. I hope your new rider enjoys you as much as I did.


Here are Maggie’s details, should anyone happen to see her:

  • Black 2012 Brompton M3L, serial no. 1209219098, frame no. 380949
  • Brooks B17 Ladies’ Saddle
  • Ergon handlebar grips
  • Light & Motion front light
  • Planet Bike Blinky rear light
  • Brompton toolkit
  • Monkii water bottle clip
  • Tiller polished stainless chain guard
  • Ortlieb Mini O bag (blue/black)
  • Carradice zipped roll bag (green canvas)



About Unfolded NYC

I live in Manhattan with a husband, two cats and a Brompton M6L named Monty. Contact me: unfoldednyc at gmail dot com (you know what to do)
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16 Responses to Loss, remorse and (expensive) redemption

  1. MG says:

    Oh no, what a huge bummer. I would have cried as well. Bikes are like good friends. At least you had a good final ride together and I am glad you were able to purchase another… On another note, how about Mr. Unhelpful? NOT HELPFUL!

  2. Unfolded NYC says:

    Thanks so much, Mary! I still get teary when I think about it; that little bike figured large in my life.

  3. This is so devastating! What an absolutely awful thing to have had happen . . . and what a horrible thing for someone to do. It’s bad enough when a bike is stolen, but a Brompton is a whole other matter. The relationship is just . . . different. I’m so sorry that this happened to you (and Maggie!).

  4. Unfolded NYC says:

    Thanks, Brommie! You’re a wonderful friend and I’m grateful to know you.

  5. Very sad story there about Maggie. I’ve been a little lost for words & advice but I now see a posting update with Maggie’s details. Can I suggest you also advise Brompton? If you’re not aware, they have a Brompton register on their website for frame & serial number. Maggie’s info should be registered by you as the rightful owner & any re-registration will disclose the theft.
    Commiserations, Ian

  6. Ryan says:

    I am sorry about your loss but I am glad that you are getting a new bike. Even though, I am in California, I will keep my eyes open for yours. Just terrible.

    By the way, I really enjoyed your blog and I learned about Monkii cage through one of your postings. I plan to get one myself but looks like it is not really available in USA. Did you order directly from manufacturer?

  7. Doug says:

    Sorry for the loss of your Brompton. My wife and I were the Brompton owners that you were speaking with outside of Bicycle Habitat during Summer Streets, and I recollect talking to you about the Mini-O bag. Good luck in your new purchase and keeping an eagle eye on your new bike.

  8. Unfolded NYC says:

    Doug, I so enjoyed talking with you two! As you can see, I like the Mini O so much I bought another. I appreciate the condolences, and the good wishes.

  9. Laura says:

    Hi, so sorry to read about your loss. I’ve had my share of stolen property by city thieves (an almost brand new digital camera from my pocket, no less!) and it is indeed a horrible feeling. Hope you’re feeling better now and your new bike brings you many hours of joy. I’m curious about your thoughts on the 6 gears against the 3 gears. Have you used them all yet? Which is better in your opinion? I have a M6L and love it. But before purchasing, I toyed with the idea of getting the M3L “to save a few bucks”. I’m glad I went with 6 because my city has a few steep slopes, I always find the right gear for every terrain and situation, but I still battle to find a proper use for the highest gear. It’s a bit hard for me! LOL!
    Take care!

    • Unfolded NYC says:

      Laura, thank you for the kind comment! I’m still learning how to employ all 6 gears; for example, I just found out (from the lovely and talented Brompton Diarist) that one should cycle through them consecutively rather than jumping around.

      I chose the M3L last time to save weight, and because 3 gears seemed sufficient for my (mostly) flat city. They are, but I like the option of gearing down on steeper terrain, and the weight impact is minimal. Such miracles of engineering, our Bromptons!

  10. Pics of Monty seem to show the standard 50 teeth chainring. Riding a 6-speed Brompton in hilly locations may be easier if the 44 teeth chainring (the “reduced gearing” option) is fitted. My interpretation of Laura’s comment is that her gearing range is too high & so the reduced gearing option would lower each of the 6 gears (& especially allowing a low bottom gear for tougher hills?)

  11. Unfolded NYC says:

    Ian, this is fascinating! I’m beginning to realize how little I know about Brompton mechanics. Can chainrings be swapped out at will? I’m still wrapping my mind around Brommie’s revelation about how to shift.

  12. Brompton has 3 options, with 44, 50 & 54T chainrings. Latest models with the “spider crankset” just requires a chainring (with chain guard) swap. Earlier models have a one-piece crankset (crank arm with chainring) which you need to swap. The chain may need a shortening or replacement to match the chainring size. Pretty simple changeover & recommended for hilly terrain &/or less-strong legs? Of course, Monty’s coping with hills via a wider range of gears than Maggie should be obvious & maybe you’ll get by with the 50T standard chainring – or maybe you have mountains to climb?

  13. Unfolded NYC says:

    Thanks for that thorough explanation, Ian. “Mountains” are relative, of course – I expect you’d laugh at what I consider steep! – but Monty’s current setup is likely all I need. It’s good to have a better understanding of his physiology, though.

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