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Back in April, we received a post from 1% for the Planet member Caletti Cycles that impressed us not only for its inspired understanding of responsible business practice within the cycling industry but also for its  reference to an unexpected topic– sharks. Intrigued, we caught up with John Caletti, owner and builder at Caletti Cycles, to dive a little deeper into his business and philanthropic strategy.

Every bike that bears the name Caletti is handcrafted by owner John Caletti in his shop in Santa Cruz, California.

Caletti sees the value of a holistic approach to philanthropy. A member of 1% for the Planet since 2010, Caletti Cycles has carefully balanced its giving between the kinds of organizations you might anticipate, given its business—the Alliance for Climate Protection and the Bikes Belong Foundation (People for Bikes), for example—and, less predictably, wildlife/marine conservation groups like Shark Savers and the World Wildlife Fund.

Supporting marine-based organizations also shows Caletti’s customers that his philanthropic values are aligned with those of his local community of Santa Cruz, California, whose singular coastal ecosystem inevitably plays a role in all types of philanthropy. For Caletti, “build-buy-ride local” is the expression of a business model and an ethic that, in taking account of the total life cycle of his product, necessarily considers that coastal environment. Handmade is about as energy-friendly as manufacturing gets. Locally made means minimal overseas shipping.

So, a bicycle company can have much to do with shark conservation. 1% for the Planet facilitates partnership so that our member businesses may engage deeply in issues that inspire them, and activate their employees and customers to do the same. An inspired approach to philanthropy is essential. Current environmental crises like climate change affect marine life in warming oceans just as they pose great threats to humanity.The more bike builders with shark fascinations, the greater our capacity for collaboration across industries, and the deeper our understanding of interconnectivity.

Caletti believes it can be too easy to sit comfortably with the assumption that cycling, as an alternative to petroleum-powered transportation, and its associated industries are inherently eco-friendly. “Mountain bikers often drive to a destination where they are going to ride,” noted Caletti, as he ran down some common practices worth examining if the cycling world is to  continue to lessen its environmental impact.

Diligent consideration of environmental impact also informs bike design at Caletti Cycles. Caletti favors steel and titanium over carbon fiber and aluminum, for their durability, ride quality, recyclability and their substantially cleaner manufacturing processes. The manufacture of carbon fiber emits five to twenty times more greenhouse gasses than that of steel (source:SmartPlanet). In a competitive industry in which carbon fiber holds a special allure for its lightweight, high-performance durability, Caletti’s passing over the material speaks forcefully of his commitment to sustainable sourcing. Caletti’s favorites among his designs are the most versatile. Both his Cross and Adventure Road bikes are meant for a range of terrains and distances, thus encouraging both an expansion of available pathways for the commuter and a reduction in the equipment deemed necessary to an avid cyclist.

Caletti Adventure Road frames are designed for long distance comfort and all-condition performance, making the decision to ditch the car that much easier.

clean welds and clean design

Caletti is inspired by the work and philosophy of fellow 1% for the Planet member Sweetpea Bicycles. He will be donating a bike to Easton Cycling’s Dream Bike Charity Raffle to benefit marine conservationists OCEANA, and is looking forward to participating in the next Santa Cruz Open Streets event on October 13, 2013. Stay tuned for more information at: http://scopenstreets.org.

Caletti Cycles Gives Back To Blue by pushing the standards of clean business, design, and partnership in the cycling industry. All Caletti frames are handmade in the U.S. Custom frames run between $1,800-$2,800 and can take from 6-8 months to fill. For questions and orders, contact: John Caletti 831-426-0575 / john@caletticycles.com

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