Study the Tour route for the coming year to pick what appeals to you, but don't overestimate your abilities.
Most trips include lodging, most meals, guides, support van and services, and viewing at least some legs of the pro competition.
Pricing varies by trip length and amenities, but expect a weeklong trip typically to start at $4,000.
Start planning early as some trips sell out fast. The 2014 Tour route will be announced in October, and many companies will have their trips listed then or even in September based on rumors.
Tour companies mentioned in the story
Active 4 Adventures — Discover France, 800-929-0152, active4tourdefrance.com/en
Thomson Bike Tours, 888-446-5502, thomsonbiketours.com
Trek Travel, 866-464-8735, trektravel.com
A sampling of companies with a U.S. office that have Tour trips. Not all companies are VIP Official Operators of Tour de France, which means they may not have as much access to the Tour route or Tour participants.
Adventure Center, 800-228-8747, adventurecenter.com; Bike Tours Direct, 877-462-2423, biketoursdirect.com; Breaking Away Bicycle Tours, 310-377-9806, breakingaway.com; Custom Getaways, 863-292-2017, customgetaways.com; Gourmet Cycling Travel, 888-327-2283, gourmetcyclingtravel.com; Jemison Cycling Tours, 800-492-9159, jemisontours.com; TDF-Tours, 888-825-4720, tdf-tours.com; Velo Echappe, 402-345-7445, veloechappe.com