So. I noticed my rear brake wasn’t really doing anything. If I squeezed really hard, I could slow down, but not enough to stop going down a steep hill. No big deal—it’s the front brake that really matters, right?—but just for safety’s sake I went to the bike store one day and they replaced the pads so the brake works again. And, hey—it really works! I hadn’t realized how effective the brake can be when it’s fully operational. Good to know.