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Getting a bike fit can sometimes feel like an indulgent purchase - it can be tempting to fiddle around with a turbo trainer, mirror, and a ruler yourself.

[related_articles]We understand why - you part with a fair wadge of cash, and walk away with the same bike that you entered the bike shop with. There's nothing to technically show for your money.

However, a bike fit is probably the most worthwhile invisible purchase you could make. It's also not a simple case of having a bike fit once in your life, and it's unlikely you'll do an equally good job armed with YouTube and a ruler as a professional fitter.

We asked Mariel - who works at the women's bike shop, Everyone Bikes for her advice on how often, and why, a rider should get a fit.

"We recommend that cyclists riding around 3-5 times a week and doing longer rides, over 50 miles, on a regular basis have one bike fit every 6 months," she said.

And what would be the reasons for booking yourself in? Mariel gave us four common scenarios....

handlebars summer grip control

No one wants to be uncomfortable on the bike, discomfort can ruin rides and even result in injury if you continue to plod out the miles with the wrong set up. The good news is, all this is avoidable.

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Mariel told us: "A number of common problems are easily addressed with a good bike fit. Numbness in the hands, pain between the shoulder blades, and pain in the knees are a few I encounter on a regular basis.

"Numbness in the hands can be addressed by changing the length and angle of the stem or handlebars and pain in the knees by adjusting the cleat position or saddle height. You would be amazed at how much difference a few centimetres can make. When you are comfortable on the bike, you are likely to ride more so it is worth investing in a bike fit if you have any nagging problems."

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So there you go, if cycling hurts (aside from tired legs and heaving lungs), get yourself check in.

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Signing up to an event that you know is going to be a major challenge is exciting, and sometimes a little scary.

You're probably going to increase your mileage in the run up, too - so it's worth making sure you're in the perfect position.

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Mariel explained: "The riding position has a huge influence on performance and it is advisable to have a bike fitting before training begins in order to get used to it. For a short and fast race, an aggressive position is preferred, that is, high saddle and low handlebars. Not the most comfortable but it is meant to maximise power output.

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She added: "Comfort becomes more important when spending more time on the bike during a longer race, and the correct bike position will be one that finds a compromise between comfort and performance. When doing your bike fit always discuss any upcoming races or events with your bike fitter."

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We've got a habit of believing that once we're full sized adults, our bodies just stay the same. Not the case.

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Mariel said: "Take this scenario. You buy a new bike as a beginner cyclist and you love it so much that you ride it several times a week and become very fit over the course of several months. The position you were in when you first started cycling is not going to be the same that you should be in now."

Really? Why? Mariel explains: "You’ve become stronger and more flexible meaning that you can get more out of the bike by changing the riding position to a more aggressive one. The same goes if your level or riding stays the same but you have increased your stretching or taken up yoga practice and become much more flexible, for example."

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Of course, it works the other way: "If you were a keen cyclist over the summer season but became a couch potato over the winter and as soon as the flowers start to bloom again you want to get back on your bike, you may need a fit to check you're adjusted according to your fitness."

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A good fit isn't just about comfort - you might be perfectly comfortable, but still using sub-optimal muscles or not as aerodynamic as you could be.

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"Perhaps you have been cycling for a few years and don’t have any cycling events planned but you want to optimise your effort on the saddle and get the best possible power output for every pedal stroke. If this is the case, a bike fit would be the perfect solution to getting the most out of your bike."

Everyone Bikes offer Precision Bike Fit at their store in Battersea, London.