Barging: Living Without A Car

Our Croozer in its cart configuration

Our Croozer in its cart configuration

Though some barges are designed to carry a car on board, Wanderlust does not have the capability. This means that when we cruise about the waterways, we are car-free. Surprisingly, we don’t miss having a car. In fact, we find the absence of a car to be liberating. But in truth, not having a car does make the practical day-to-day necessities more challenging. Life without a car requires more planning.

One problem that comes up is shopping. As we move from place to place, we must discover where the shops are in each new town. Oftentimes stores are not convenient to the barge. Getting to the distant markets is a challenge and bringing back the bulk items is even harder. Bikes come in handy. Our bikes are essential for reaching places several kilometers from the barge. Nevertheless, carrying a large item such as a propane tank on a mountain bike is not very practical. For this reason we’ve purchased a bike trailer.

There are many bike trailer options. The trailer we chose is called a Croozer Cargo. It is well built and easily attaches to the rear axle of the bike. The trailer can be towed without difficulty behind our bikes. The German company behind the Croozer claims that trailer will carry 40 kg of cargo and that “two cases of beer will easily fit in with room to spare”. Apparently the beer carrying capacity of a bike trailer is an important selling point to the Germans.

On rare occasions we can take the store's cart to our barge.

On rare occasions we can take the store’s cart to our barge.

The Croozer as a bike trailer

The Croozer as a bike trailer

Aside from the generous beer hauling capacity, there are other features of the Croozer Cargo that are important for us. Our Croozer can be reconfigured for use as a hand wheeled cart. The cart configuration is very convenient when shopping as long as the store that is within walking distance of Wanderlust. Indeed, we often take the Croozer into the local supermarkets and push it through the aisles just like a shopping cart. Using the Croozer in the store means we won’t buy more items than we can carry.

Another important feature of the Croozer Cargo is its easy collapsibility. Storage space aboard Wanderlust is not unlimited. Everything we add to the barge has to have a stowage spot. In less than a minute the Croozer can be folder down. Once collapsed, the Croozer can be taken below and stored in the engine compartment. But normally we don’t bother taking the Croozer inside. Instead, we leave it collapsed on the deck in place to be used again. After all, you never know when you’ll need to rush out buy two more cases of beer on short notice.

Our Croozer collapsed on deck

Our Croozer collapsed on deck

7 thoughts on “Barging: Living Without A Car

  1. Reblogged this on One woman. Many bicycles. and commented:
    A couple of years ago my mountain biking friends Dave and Becky ran off to Europe for a life plying the canals and rivers on a custom-built barge they aptly named Wanderlust. While they adapted quickly to the boat’s tight quarters and living car-free, some things weren’t so easy. They saw photos of me shopping by bike, asked a few questions, and now have made space on board for something to take the hassle out of car-free shopping: a bike trailer. Here is the story of their trailer, re-blogged from their Wanderlust blog.

  2. If you plan to use that in the UK, you have to have standard triangular reflectors on the rear, the ones you see on trailer light bars…

    • Thanks. We didn’t use the Croozer as a trailer much in the UK in part because the roads are not very bike friendly. It is in France now. Do we need a triangle there?

  3. Pingback: Canal de St. Quentin: Cambrai to St. Quentin via Souterrain Riqueval | Wanderlust

  4. Pingback: The Canal du Rhône au Rhin: Mulhouse, Day Trips | Wanderlust

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