Well truthfully, I need $10,650, a month off work, a round trip ticket to France and somebody to convince my wife this is a good idea.

The 14 affluent friends are optional.

While I have been slowly reacclimatizing myself to life without the Tour, I wondered – What could be greater than soaking in all this mainstream cycling coverage, coming into the office and enjoying water cooler chat about crashes, personal favourites and predictions for upcoming stages… What could be better, indeed?

Perhaps riding the Tour itself?

To good to be true you say? Perhaps not.

Enter Rêve… Led by cycling photog Michael Robertson of VeloDramatic and directeur sportif Wilfred de Kruijf, Rêve (French for “dream”) pulls together essentially the most epic recreation of the Tour de France an average rider like me is ever likely to imagine.

Now, don’t be fooled – This isn’t just some fluffy French wine tour, this is the real deal. Every kilometre, every meter of elevation, every drop of sweat, every ounce of fatigue, every mountain stage, every time trial – And although you leave a day before the pros take to the tarmac you will essentially be riding the Tour de France.

It doesn’t come cheap, but for around $10k it’s probably one of the most magnificent cycling adventure you and 14 others could dream up. Departing one day ahead of the Tour itself, pretty much everything but the flight to France is covered:

  • Hotels – June 30th through July 22nd
  • All transfers between stage starts, finishes and hotels
  • All meals – Including a celebration dinner in Paris
  • Snacks and riding nutrition – Energy drinks, fruit, sandwiches, and most importantly, a constant supply of Nutella
  • Rêve Kit – 1 team helmet, 1 team jersey (black), 1 team jersey (lt. blue), 2 pr team socks (all members are expected to wear the kit – This is a team, it should look like one)
  • Documentary photography – Including a two-volume hardcover set of books
  • Unlimited tubes, C02 cartridges, and sunscreen
  • Mechanical service, bike wash station, lube and shift tuning as needed daily

Every member of the 15 person team is expected to take their training seriously. Rêve will supply training advice if needed and there is a private team forum to promote swapping training adventures and help gel the members prior to departure.

Outside of the experience itself, one of the best parts of this experience has to be the fact that you have a professional photojournalist following your efforts everyday, and will have two hardcover volumes to re-live your team’s journey through Le Belle France. I can’t imagine how great it would be to have a photographer there capturing all the toughest moments, all the camaraderie, all the times you would wish had grabbed your camera, but hadn’t.

You can explore the full offering on the Rêve site, check out their blog, or even preview some of the past photographic volumes here and here.

Would you be up for it? Could you handle the rigeurs of the Tour? Answer the poll to the right should you fancy it.

And, um… Yeah. If you’re interested in sponsoring my 2012 Tour efforts just drop me a line ;-)