Could this be the ultimate bike for the foodies and foragers out there? We reckon it's a hot contender. With a focus on British design and manufacturing, it comes equipped with all the tools and accessories you need to find your dinner in the great outdoor, then cook and eat it. Food and cycling - what's not to love?
Resplendent in Ascot Bronze Green paint, the aptly monikered 'Forager' bicycle was handmade by frame builder Sven Cycles for River Cottage, the restaurant of TV chef and food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
It comes complete with all the tools you need for a day of bike-based foraging in the countryside, followed by consumption of the fruits of your labour. In other words, it's equipped with ample storage space and a selection of pots, pans, utensils and even a barbecue so you can find and eat your food while travelling through the countryside on two wheels.
The bike was apparently inspired by the classic Series 1 Land Rover, and is designed and equipped for collecting and cooking a variety of wild food. Darren Coppin of Sven Cycles took the lead in the construction of the Forager, with input from Fearnley-Whittingstall, and his executive group chef Gill Meller.
"I'm incredibly pleased with The Forager," says Fearnley-Whittingstall. "It's a brilliant skilful and imaginative piece of engineering. And, even more importantly, it's a joy to ride! I'm very much looking forward to a full-scale two-wheeled foraging expedition as soon as the first green shoots appear in the hedgerow. Which with the weather we're having is any day now..."
The Forager specifications
The steel frame is based on a classic 1930s design and uses Reynolds steel tubing. Although it may look like a chunky steed, it's designed to fit through a standard doorway. With a heritage design such as this, it was perhaps inevitable that a British saddle by Brooks should feature on the build, in this case the classic sprung leather version.
The Forager features a hub dynamo which not only powers a light set, but also a USB charger. This is great idea, meaning you can charge electronic devices from your bike as you go. It's called The Plug and it's fitted to the stem cap.
Made by Nottinghamshire company Loop Wheels in the UK, the front wheel is certainly an unusual design. The design eschews the usual spokes in favour of carbon springs - the 'loops' - which act as shock absorbers. The hub essentially floats within the rim, which deforms to absorb uneven terrain.
Restrap, another UK-based company, has created all the waxed cotton frame bags which are custom designed to both distribute weight evenly across the bike and squeeze every bit of storage space possible from the design.
The Forager also uses internal hub gears and disc brakes.
The bike is of course only one part of the equation here. It comes equipped with all the tools of the trade the adept forager could ever need, plus all the equipment a dedicated outdoor chef could need to prepare and eat the foraged treasures. This includes:
- A fire-pit BBQ
- Upcycled pots and pans
- Plates and utensils made from pine tree fibres
- Stainless steel water bottle and thermos
- Chopping board, made of recycled boat decking no less
- Assorted Opinel knives including a mushroom knife, sharpening stone, foraging hook
- Detachable wicker basket
- Hip flask
Fancy your very own version of this bike? Well, if you're not already a keen forager you may need to become one – because for a fully equipped version with the accessories mentioned above, you can expect to pay £3,900.
If you'd like to see the bike in the flesh, as it were, you'll need to trundle along to the River Cottage May Food Fair, which also promises to have a tantalising selection of food on offer. It will also be displayed at Bespoked, the UK-based handmade bicycle show, which runs from 15 to 17 April 2016 in Bristol.