I'm thinking of riding from Edmonton to Vancouver, via the Icefields Parkway and then the Kettle Valley Railway Trail. The mix of road and off-road touring is putting me in a dilemma as to what do bike-wise. Here are my two scenarios:
1) I have a Trek 520, and I'm contemplating putting straight bars/rapid-fire shifters to give me better control on the loose gravel sections of the KVR. I would buy two sets of foldable tires, one slick and the other knobby so I can switch depending on surface conditions. This is the cheaper choice, but I will have to switch back the bike to its original configuration.
2) Buy a 29er. I've been wanting a mountain bike with disk brakes for quite a while and this would be a good excuse to get one. I'd also get two sets of foldable tires. My top choices are a Gary Fisher Ferrous 29, a Jamis Dragon 29 (both with front shocks), or a Salsa Fargo (no shocks). I would definitely use this bike after on the trails near my home. I may use a trailer on this option, especially for the GF or the Jamis, possibly an ExtraWheel trailer, so I can unhitch and do trail rides here and there during the trip. This is the expensive choice, but it gives me another specialized bike to use whenever I want.
If you were me, which set-up would you pick?