There's really not much out there has been written on the subject of stayers. Sadly I'm not about to enlighten all with an exhaustive history of bicycle pacers as I just don't know enough myself yet but there's knowledge can be gained from looking at old images so I've gathered together a selection broader than you are likely to find elsewhere on the web.
Personally I find bicycle pacers fascinating, both the bicycle and motorcycle are specialised machines built for just the one task. The early motorcycle pacers are incredible behemoths, huge engines and singular of purpose in their pursuit of speed.
In the very earliest days of pacing cars were used for the long distance races such as the Paris-Roubaix and Bordeaux-Paris. The Bordeaux-Paris was paced by cars from 1897 to 1899 but the dust and exhaust fumes were infernal and the danger posed to the cyclists great. As velodromes became popular so did the motorcycle pacers.
Early paced races were limited in speed by the motorcycles themselves rather than the cyclists but speeds rose quickly and by 1904 100kmh could be expected. As the speeds increased so did accidents, many of which were gruesome in nature. Bicycle tyres were flimsy, barely suitable for purpose and a blow out at 100kmh riding in close quarters to other bicycles and pacers could be disasterous. Though the bulk of injuries and deaths were born by the cyclists it was not unknown for the stayer pilots or indeed spectators to be the victims.
There is a fascinating history of bicycle pacing waiting to be uncovered, a look through these images reveals that the stayer pilots were every bit the celebrity the cyclists were and the spectacle of stub-piped monster-engined motorcycles with their bicycle familiars circulating at huge speeds in close formation must have been mind-blowing at the time.
|This image shows the celebrity of the stayer pilot. I'm guessing|
it dates from the 1900s.
|A lot later image and once again it it the pacer rider who is|
the focus. Looks like an Anzani v-twin engined monster and
probably from the thirties.
|Dated 1905. This machine is a beast!|
|A pair of cycle pacers from the pre-WWI era.|
|An 'action' photograph. Note the pole propping the rider up!|
|Novelty card. The boy is riding the|
stayer and is 8 years old and the 6
year old girl is the cyclist.
|From Germany. The stayer is an absolute monster.|
|This particular image carries a Canadian stamp.|
|The cyclist and stayer pilot are portayed as a pair and|
on an equal standing.
|This German image could well be post WWII.|
|Another stayer and cyclist pairing.|
|Finally another novelty card. Pacing on the wall of death.|