Apologies in advance if this question sounds stupid, but I'm new to the "serious" cycling world, having last rode some 10 years ago, and a somewhat cheap bike at that.
I live in Bend, Oregon, and for those of you not familiar with this area, it is in the middle of the state, east of the Cascade mountains. There is high desert as well as mountainous terrain, and this area is a bicycler's and hiker's paradise. There are so many bike shops here that, from what I can see, every major brand is represented here. Okay, now onto my question.
How much effort should a professional bike shop put into fitting you to a road bike, and how much should that effort cost you? One bike shop I visited simply had me straddle a bike and lift it until the top tube touched my "softer bits", and then proclaimed that I ride a 52cm frame. Another bike shop told me over the phone that, based on my height of 5'10", I probably ride a 54-55cm frame--of course, the bike shop guy told me I would need to come in to personally size the frame to be sure. I have heard that other shops will do a "professional" fit for $100-$150. I confess I am a bit confused. Obviously, I want to get the best fitting bike I can, since even though I'm not spending a huge amount of $$ (less than $800), I still want to be able to ride the thing for a long time before I upgrade.