introduce yourself and group. ask what people are most curious about.
send people who want to fix flat tires group out with david...
keeping tires pumped up and lubricating your chain are the only skills that should be considered absolutely mandatory to be able to ride a bike for transportation
while people typically cite bike 'performance' as the primary motivating factor for spending more money on a bike, dependability and ease of ownership are significantly more important.
there is no right or wrong answer to the question, 'how much should i spend?', because each person has a different tolerance for the amount of tinkering which is necessary to keep a bike running.
if not, are the pads touching the rim wall (and rim wall only)? has the cable stretched, or become caught on something? are the brakes, 'toed-in'? is the surface of the pad brittle? what about bikes with steel wheels?
cable stretch is a natural part of life. that's why barrel adjusters were invented
side-pull brakes are easier to work on than center-pull brakes most(not all) nice caliper brakes have a adjustment bolt in the middle of the brake assembly for centering. the back bolt controls assembly installation the front bolt (if present) often controls load on springs
why are they used? a noodle allows quick disassembly to remove larger wheels spring tension on both arms is necessary to keep pads off the wheel. install pin often has three possible locations, best to start with the middle sometimes the spring itself can be bent to provide more spring, sometimes not.
a. make sure derailleur hanger is straight (in front make sure arm is parallel and close to chainring) b. set limit screws c. add cable tension, (shouldn't take a lot). d. if its still not shifting right, even after recabling the bike, its likely that either the cassette, chain or both are worn out.
do you hear it when you're coasting? don't be afraid to swap parts out to help find the culprit
if you really just wanted an excuse to buy a new bike, i support you!