I have more experience as a hiker than a rider, but many of the same rules apply to all trail users in some respect.
One rule we had was that when the leader took a turn, or there was a fork in the road, he stopped and waited for the next rider to arrive before heading out again.
That second rider waited for the third, and so forth.
This was repeated until the sweep rider (who had the route chart and /or GPS) met back up with the whole group once an hour.
I like the 60 minute rule. Everyone can expect to take a group break at the top of the hour, etc.
On a longer route, I also like making sure everyone knows that the entire group will stop at locations that are designated before starting - major intersections or other landmarks work best. Knowing where the group will stop helps anyone with a problem know how far it is to at least one option for help, and it makes it easier to organize people to assist, and to send people for additional help.
Don't follow too close to the rider in front of you.
Ride your own pace! Don't try to keep up and ride above your skill/comfort level. It takes less time for everyone to just go a bit slower, than it does to help someone recover from a crash.
It can also be more enjoyable to have some isolation on the trail. Less dust, more solitude, easier to pass opposing traffic.
No doubt. And drink your milk, too.
The corollary to the above is to choose your riding partners carefully.
I‘ve learned the hard way it’s better to hurt some feelings before the ride then during the ride.
I've been on backcountry trips where things got interesting, and I was glad to know I could count on my friends. An excellent book that discusses picking your partners carefully is K2: The Savage Mountain - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/112033.K2_The_Savage_Mountain
After spending several days trapped together very high on the mountain, in the middle of a horrendous storm, nearly everyone's life depended on one man
. Not many people will ever be in a situation like that, but I found it interesting to read about how the team was selected long before any of the rest of the work was done. That process made a significant difference throughout the trip.
When someone tells me they didn't bring a spare tube because they knew I'd have one I reevaluate whether I want to ride with them.
That's nicer than reevaluating whether you're going to tell them you left your spare at home, too.
How about don't plow through water holes if it can be avoided with riders behind you?
Posted that on another forum and got called a little bitch.........
It also reduces trail damage. Not a big deal in some areas, but on mixed use trails that experience a lot of erosion, blasting through water gives others another excuse to ban bikes from trails.
It took a 950SE with a Teraflex slinging rocks at my face to learn that lesson.
My contribution to this thread is be really really respectful to non motorized recreators on shared use trails. They will judge all riders based on the actions of a few.
Exactly. If you have a loud bike, shutting down around horse riders is good form. Even with a quiet bike, it's appreciated. Try not to ghost hikers with a face full of dust, too. People remember the jackass that rips by in a SxS or bike more than the 20 that passed with care.
I think this applies to bikes, but I know it applies to hiking: the person ascending has the right of way.
This applies to most any kind of traveling group: expect every break to take a few minutes longer for each person added to the group. The other side of that is to do your part to prevent turning a 10 minute break into a 30 minute drag.