Words by Poppy Smith | Photography by Jonathan Gooding & Darron Coppin
I first heard about The Forager at the start of this year. There was a rumour going around the handmade bicycle world that two UK framebuilders were building a bike specially designed for foraging and cooking wild food on the go, for chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his River Cottage team. It sounded bonkers, but then I remembered an old book by HFW that we had on our shelf, ‘A Cook on the Wild Side’, the cover of which featured him astride his customised shopper bike, dead pigeons hanging from the handlebars, pots of foraged food actually cooking on the cross-bar.
That was 20 years ago. Back then Hugh was a wild haired nomadic chef and all-round adventurer with a popular television series that contained a fair amount of wild food and wilderness living, with a bit of food politics thrown in. It was all starting to make sense.
The framebuilders in question were Darron Coppin and Andrew ‘Mog’ Mogford of Sven Cycles based down in Weymouth, Dorset. Darron, a keen mountain biker from the early days of the sport, has always had a love of all types of bikes including Moultons (folding bikes) and recumbents. Mog, who helps Darron on the design side of things, has worked on just about every type of bike imaginable (and probably a few you can’t imagine).
I needed to know more about this out-there project so I called Darron up. He told me the bike was close to being completed, they were just waiting on the custom bike bags to be finished and sent down from Yorkshire.