Help choosing bike for road trip

Hello, since the pandemic has changed my job to 100% work from home with no plans to go back to the office and the housing market is very good in my area. My wife and I have decided to sell our home and travel for the next year in our fifth wheel. I can only fit one of my bikes on the rack so I could use some help deciding which one to take.

I have a Salsa Spearfish FS and a brand new Salsa Journeyman gravel bike. Both have powermeters. I’m not taking my trainer so all my workouts will be outdoors. I’m leaning towards the gravel bike since the Spearfish requires a bit more maintenance with the front and rear suspension and it’s older.

As of right now, we’ve planned the following destinations. Ashville NC, Charleston SC, St, Augustine FL, Port St. Joe, FL. We’ll be back in Michigan around the holidays and then heading west.


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Seems like an easy decision. Any place with MTB riding will have solid rentals nearby specific to that terrain. The Gravel bike will pack easier and be useful in more places.

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No moral judgment from me, but if you’ve got a truck capable of pulling a 5th wheel camper ($$$), a 5th wheel camper ($$$) and two pretty nice bikes with power meters ($$) , you should probably be able to swing some sort of solution for bringing both bikes with you. Oh, and you’re selling your house, hopefully not at a short-sale? Buy a more capable bike rack or figure out an in-transit only solution inside the 5th wheel. Also, if you’re planning on being on the road, it sounds like you don’t have kids (-$$$$$$$$$). :man_shrugging:

I hadn’t honestly thought of renting bikes. That’s a good idea. Thanks.

Just because you start with ‘no judgement’ doesn’t make your post magically non judgemental ;).

To OP: I would take the gravel bike. It’s just more versatile. If you want to run errands for example, it’s just easier. Plus I think it’s easier to explore your extended neighbourhood of the places you will go.

Have fun. Sounds like you have an awesome adventure ahead of you!

That’s why I added “moral.” I have plenty of judgments about the calculations that led to a a fifth wheel camper but “only” two bikes. They just happen to not be “moral” judgments.

So I was going to let your comment go but now I’m curious what exactly are you judging me for?

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Not trying to find a way to bring both bikes on a year-long road trip.

Sounds to me like it’s not a year long bike trip, but working on the road and being fortunate enough to bring a bike. Nothing wrong with downsizing and simplyfying on such a trip. I guess it’s up to everyone’s priorities. I wouldn’t bring two bikes either.

As a general remark your post sounds quite bitter and envious (not sure if that was intended).Probably a bad attitude in a cycling forum since a lot of people spend their money on their hobby according to their own liking. It actually made me chuckle a little bit seeing all your $$$ signs. The gravel bike including the power meter costs probably less than the average carbon wheelset people talk about here. OP also didn’t ask about an opinion on his/her live choices or automotive purchases but just about help choosing between two bikes. So back on topic: I recommend take the gravel bike.

Thanks for the feedback. It’s definitely not a year long bike trip. With work and my daughters school being at home for the year, we’re taking this rare opportunity to travel and see the country (or as much of it is open right now).


What an awesome idea - way to make the best of the situation! I’m jealous (I usually spend a few weeks a year in the US and no idea when that will happen again).

The ideal is obviously both bikes, but gravel bikes are really ‘do it all’ bikes. You can still take it on easier trails and have a ton of fun, and much nicer on road/dirt roads. If you were going to Colorado/Utah I’d probably say MTB, but even then as pointed out, renting would be a really good option. I have a CX bike and MTB - the CX is the work horse doing 'cross, gravel, road, bimbling, commuting, quick runs to town, etc. Much more versatile.

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Only moderately jealous of the freedom to travel. Not the slightest bit bitter about my station in life. Not a single pair of carbon wheels here, and only one on-bike PM, but maybe I’ll get another if the OT picks back up… I’ve never thought, “you know a mortgage payment on a wheelset would be the right choice for me.” I’m more of a “build and repair your own wheelset” kinda guy.

I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of limiting myself to one bike only, for an entire year, PARTICULARLY IF TRAVELING TO ALL TYPES OF TERRAIN. Given that OP is selling a home, there’s [hopefully] a little bit of cashflow to pick up a rack that is slightly more capable of carrying another bike. Every camper or 5th wheel I’ve ever visited has probably three spots you could put a clean bike and bungie it for in transit use only. OP’s priorities obviously vary from mine, and that doesn’t make him a worse person by any stretch.

St. Augustine, just north of the Old Jail, take the Vilano Causeway over the Usina Bridge to Vilano Beach, then North on A1A. Nice, straight ride next to the ocean with some light ups and downs, bike lane shoulders and not a lot of traffic. A1A south you’d need to go much further out of St. Aug. Lots of local cyclists out on Saturday mornings when I’ve ridden it. The gas station just south of Guana (GTM NERR) is about the 60/40 split point for the Mickler’s Landing turn around and a popular stop.

Guana has MTB trails, but don’t know if they play nice with gravel bikes.

I know a few other low traffic roads in the area if you’re willing to drive to them, though on some you may be pretty isolated for long stretches. The stretch along the St. Johns on FL-13 (runs from just north of Palatka to Mandarin in south Jacksonville) is a shady, scenic stretch–except when the wind blows the Spanish moss parallel with the ground. :wind_face:


Gravel bike w/ 2 wheelsets…road and trail. Easy decision. Best of both worlds and more versatility.

And as suggested, renting a MTB in some areas is a great idea…and makes the decision even easier.