Here is a significant piece of history:
In the late 1800’s paced races were very popular where, tens of thousands of spectators would come out to watch particular races. The racers would draft a pacing machine which started with tandem and up to 5 riders on the machine.
he Waltham Manufacturing Company built this 5-person pacer bike in 1898 with 5 different sized sprockets as a “manual” shift. The front rider would start the peddling and when he couldn’t pedal faster, the next rider would put his meat into it and so on until the last racer was able to pedal it up. They would reach up to 30+mph. If the racer or “stayer” would get too close, he’d hit the bike and fall. If he fell behind he would quickly lose the slipstream and fall quickly behind. A stayer would endure up to six changes of a pacing team in pursuit of a mile record attempt.
This type of racing was so popular that it is arguably the reason motorized cycles were made and thus the motorcycle industry followed.