One thing we’ve learned about Burien from covering our little burgh for the last 11+ years is that we are very passionate about our pets!
It’s just this sort of passion which has led one of our locals to create pet-centric designs that are not only sold in 19 countries worldwide, but have now been honored with a prestigious design award. ‘Britch’ Is short for “bicycle rack-hitch” and is the latest innovation from a pioneer in designs that allows you to enjoy biking with your dog. It has been awarded a 2018 Silver IDA International Design Award for Product Design in the category of Outdoor and Exercise Equipment–Bicycle and bicycle accessories. A prestigious honor indeed for a local company that has called Burien home for about three years now.
Dutch Dog Design is the brainchild of Matthys van Leeuwen (pictured, left), who was inspired to introduce the first dog bike trailer in 2003. The company quickly became a market leader, introducing the first large dog stroller, followed by other innovations in the dog bike trailer and stroller category.
“The Britch is a unique bicycle rack that transmits the weight of bicycle loads from the front or rear to the center of the bicycle, just like how anyone steps onto a bicycle,” van Leeuwen told The B-Town Blog. “The front load works independently from the handlebar allowing heavier loads or pets, and the rear also works as a trailer hitch. This makes bicycle trailers track from the center instead of pulling on one side of the hub to avoid potential damage to the hub or an electric drive systems.”
It sounds pretty clever to us, and is not limited to just carrying canine companions’ according to a release:
“The company is adding applications for the Britch in functional areas, like the Cocoon for pets or the TakeOut for the meal delivery market. The benefit for pets is that it works independently from the handlebar, so the load doesn’t swift with it and avoids nausea for your pooch. A front load independent from the handlebar allows a heavier load and a stable ride.”
Later this year all Dutch Dog bike trailers will be equipped to be towed by the Britch. The tow system will also ensure stability for the trailer and the only dog bike trailers that will be tip-proof. A dog in a bicycle trailer with a leaning forward weight makes the bicycle trailer unstable and the Britch tow arm includes a stability solution to make the trailer tip-proof. Here’s a video demo:
This is just the second time van Leeuwen has entered the competition, which is well-known in the product design industry. Although the first entry attempt (the DoggySnooze) was not awarded, it was well-received in the market as a luxurious and thoughtful modern dog bed design.
The design process to create the Britch (smile when you say that, buddy…) was painstaking, lasting over two years going back and forth. Along the way, first creating a different hitch that would include an anti-tipping system, then coming up with a rack to attach to the hitch, then, for a universal fit, attaching the rack to the seat tube; discovering that the design would work also for the Cocoon pet carrier on the front and finally figuring out that putting the angle reversed, the design would fit the down tube for the front and would make the front rack operate independently from the handlebar. Pffew! Fainter hearts might have given up at the six month mark, but apparently van Leeuwen and company have some staying power.
Along with his wife and trusty 9 year old Samoyed named Menno, Matthys resides here in Burien and looks forward to continuing his international business. According to him, an affection for cycling is typical in his native Netherlands, where he plans to continue to expand on useful cycling inspired innovations.
He tells us:
“The vision now is to create a unique solution for anything loading on your bicycle front or rear. For the same Britch we have already created a concept for an extension cart that can turn into an utility cart for around the home and a shopping cart/trailer. We’ll further advance this extension cart with new bags and basket to make riding with a bicycle with a load easy and fun. We’ll also contract a design company in the Netherlands to create a safe child seat that can be used on front, rear and rear extension cart. For your information, people in the Netherlands easily put three small kids on their bicycle.”
It sounds like Van Leeuwen has plans to keep him busy, and in the meantime, we hope he and his wife will take time to reflect on their accomplishment and enjoy a well earned reward.
You can learn more about Dutch Dog Design here: https://www.dutchdogdesign.com Facebook Twitter Subscribe