The myth of self fitting

If you look to the internet for information about fitting you will find lots of “fit yourself” videos. It makes sense, there’s a very limited number of adjustments that can be made, and you can tell when things feel right. Or can you???

A cognitive bias is an error caused by trusting what’s stored in your memory over what is real. The cognitive bias that gets in the way of self fitting is familiar – literally. What feels right to you is what is familiar, not what is really right. Even after generating an injury, most people return to the feel of the bike that caused the injury because it’s what they know. What’s needed is an outside perspective and a good understanding of biomechanics.

What drives this whole self fitting movement is the belief that bike fitting is simple. It is. I can’t pretend that bike fitters have lots of education in bike fitting. Most “certified” bike fitting classes are 3 or 4 days, and there is no internship program for bike fitters. What makes a bike fitter valuable is experience in seeing people on the bike and understanding the problems that can come up. It’s not a common skill, and one that I wish I could turn off. On a group ride most people just see other riders. I see people who either fit on their bikes or they don’t – it actually hurts me to watch someone who is well outside of range of motion because I understand all the injuries that can come from that.

Abraham Lincoln said that a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client. He might have said the same thing about bike fitters had the bike been invented back then.

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