Originally Posted by rjs0702
..My brakes have that little flip switch thing on them which tightens them down and when I do that the brakes are slam on the wheel and the wheel won't spin at all. So every time I ride I have to have the switch flipped open and the brakes aren't as efficient this way. I want to know how I can have the switch closed and the brakes in proper position just a little off the wheel.
That sounds like a quick-release. It's purpose is to relax the brakes so that the wheel can be removed without the tire catching on the brake pads. It's no wonder you're getting poor braking with the QR open.
You have two options: (assuming caliper, "horse shoe shaped" brakes)
1) There should be a barrel adjuster down by the brake. It'll look like a knurled screw that the cable runs through. The cable sheath should be seated in a recess in the screw's knurled head.
There should be a locknut there too.
If the bike is set up properly this screw should be set in the middle of its adjustment range. Back the locknut off up towards the knurled head and then screw in the barrel adjuster.(righty tighty). This effectively lengthens the cable and should cause the brake pads to back off enough to get the wheels spinning.
2) if the bike isn't
set up properly ith might already have the barrel adjuster in the fully screwed in position. Some prefer it that way, as it allows you to get more wear out of your brake pads before having to reset the where the cable clamps to the brake.
If this is the case with your bike you have to identify the right tool to loosen the cable where it's clamped to the brake(usually an Allen key). Then undo the cable clamp, allow maybe 5 mm of cable to slip out and retighten the cable clamp.
If you have flat bar controls on your bike you probably have barrel adjusters on your brake levers, particularly if you have canti- or V-brakes.