I a bit embarrassed to post such simple questions here but I researched a bit online and couldn't find a good guide to Avid brakes. My wife and I ride Specialized Tricross Comps with Avid Shorty brakes with interupters on the handlebar tops. We have about 5000 miles on them and the brakes are still fine but I started looking at them since I recognize that I will need to replace the pads sooner or later. I also assumed I might need to adjust them as the pads wear down. As near as I can tell there is no way to adjust these brakes other than by moving the cable end under the locking nut. I see no adjustment barrel on the back brakes. On the front there is a barrel like device (in photo 2) which I don't understand. I tried to turn the top section to no avail - I was afraid I would damage it. Can anyone advise me on how to deal with that thing?
Also, am I missing something on releasing these brakes? The release (photo 1) is squeezed by hand and is tolerable getting off. But getting the thing back on with the wheel on the bike is herculean. My wife refuses to even try. Is there any solution to that problem?
Is there some release/adjustment that can be done through the interupters?