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Bike Repair Help for Novice
Hi guys, So my housemates for my birthday decided to buy me a bike as my work is quite far and buses and owning a car are far too expensive for me. However it is very much a bike bought on a student budget and needs some fine tuning and I was wondering if you could help me. I am a complete novice at everything bicycle related and am posting on here to see if I could fix these issues instead of taking it to Halfords and having to pay quite a bit for the repairs.

I have been browsing around this website for a while and there are a few threads which seem to be talking about what I need to do, however, I am unsure whether the specific parts are actually on my bike and what a lot of the terms mean... So if someone could guide me to the correct areas to help with my repairs that would be very helpful.
The problems I am having are as follows and in order of urgency of repairs required to make it functional:

1. Brakes
So when I press the brake levers, I able to push them all the way to the handle, however this doesn't actually engage the brakes or if it does it is very minimal. My friend said he had replaced the brake pads but couldn't "tighten" them. I have no idea what that means.

2. Gears
The left hand side gear changing thing has 3 numbers but there are actually only 2 Cassette (don't think this is the right word, i mean the cog thing where the chain goes). This is generally fine as I am guessing they might have replaced the gear device.

However, when changing the right hand side gears, the derailleur has a habit of getting caught in the spokes of the spinning wheel which as you can imagine is quite dangerous when cycling.

3. The back tyre
This is probably the least important and I am sure I am being a total idiot but the back tyre's pump valve is really long and doesn't seem to fit the conventional bike pumps. Do I need a special pump for this!?

Here are the pictures of the Bike and related parts which are giving me bother: http://imgur.com/a/4DUm4#0
First thing on your brakes is to make sure you have meat on your pads. Your brake lever's and down on your caliper's you have barrel adjusters. Screw them out a bit and see if that gives you more bite.
The front shifter controls the front "Chainrings". the cassette is the cogs in the rear. For the proper terms. you can set it for two rings and have a dead shift. set the high and low limit screws.
The rear derailleur has high and low limit screws also. The low limit screw will keep the derailleur from going into the spokes, unless the rear hanger is bent inwards. Then that will have to be aligned first.
You have a presta valve tube in the rear and a normal schrader valve up front, you need a presta to schrader adapter to use the same pump or a pump that does both, or if your rim is drilled for a schrader, replace the tube.
Since you are attempting the repairs yourself. Google derailleur adjustments to understand setting the high and low limit screws.
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"

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