While the bicycle industry and many experienced cyclists have finally awakened to the importance of bicycle fittings performed by trained shop employees, the majority of bicycle riders are still operating under the belief that they can handle the task all by themselves.  While it’s true that given a few years of trial and (mostly) error and a few hundreds if not thousands of dollars (for wrong-size parts), most serious cyclists can in fact get their bicycles pretty well dialed into a comfortable and efficient set-up.  Unfortunately, most of those years will be filled with uncomfortable cycling.  And that’s the best case scenario.  More likely is that the years of repetitive motion in an improper position will cause overuse injuries that require long healing periods.  

Here are the numbers to consider:

A beginning recreational cyclist pedaling at 70RPM over the course of an average season –
2 hours / week = 8,400 pedals strokes / leg / week
26 weeks / season = 218,400 pedals strokes / leg / season

The serious club rider pedaling at 90RPM over the course of an average season –
5 hours / week = 27,000 pedals strokes / leg / week
26 weeks / season = 702,000 pedal strokes / leg / season

So if you’re the serious rider using the personal trial and error method to get comfortable on your bike, over 5 seasons that’s repeating a improperly aligned pedal stroke over 3 ½ millions times before you finally get it right (hopefully without injury).  Food for thought.