04/21/2014—Think bicycles and Lexus vehicles have little in common? Think again—as you can see from the video above, Lexus just sponsored a major ride in Napa, the Bottega Gran Fondo. This first-of-its-kind destination cycling event merged culinary delights from top chefs with serious bike riding though miles of gorgeous Napa hill country.
But also consider these deeper Lexus-cycling similarities. Like Lexus vehicles, bicycles are inherently elegant things, with a beauty deriving, in part, from their streamlined simplicity. Not only that, they’re incredibly efficient. Nearly 99 percent of the energy delivered by the rider is transferred to propulsion, which is why physics teachers everywhere enjoy pointing out that bicycles are considered one of the most efficient transportation devices ever created.
Throw in the performance and technical aspects of top Tour-de-France-worthy bikes, from ultra-light, ultra-strong carbon-fiber frames to bike designs that spend countless hours in aerodynamics research facilities, and the Lexus-cycling connections start adding up in a hurry.
It should be no surprise, then, that Lexus has made cycling technology a part of its automotive research. Over the last few years, Lexus engineers have unveiled an advanced hybrid-bike concept, as well as helped Eddy Merckx Cycles develop its professional-level time-trial bicycle.
This year will see a number of premium Lexus-sponsored bicycling events—this month’s Bottega Gran Fondo was only the beginning. What’s a gran fondo? It’s a distance event, not always a race, where riders push themselves over challenging roads in gorgeous geographic settings.
Napa’s Bottega Gran Fondo is the brainchild of Lexus Culinary Master Michael Chiarello, and avid cyclist, and any cycling event he puts on will of course feature two unique components: dramatic Napa Valley landscapes and food. Lots of good food.
Like most gran fondos, the event was open to any cycling enthusiast looking for a premium weekend experience (capped at 300 riders), but as you can see from the video above, the Lexus-sponsored event attracted some huge cycling names—pro luminaries like George Hincapie, Robin Farina, and Bob Roll, for example.
Also on hand: the limited edition Lexus F SPORT bicycle, which we’ll show you more of in the coming weeks. Bob Roll took one of these sleek bikes out on a test ride for us, and some of the words he used to describe the experience included “quick,” “precise,” and “exceptional,” adding that the bike seemed to “rocket out from underneath you” during acceleration.
Hmmm. If we didn’t know any better, Bob could have been describing the Lexus in your driveway.