The velocipede arrived in Norwich in January 1869, when Jolly and Son, coachbuilders, advertised French machines for sale. The Norwich Velocipede Club was set up in April 1869 and the first velocipede races in Norwich were held at Newmarket Road on May 24th 1869. The following is a report from the Norfolk Chronicle that was re-produced in the hellenicaworld.com website:
"The first velocipede races took place at the athletic sports of the Norwich Gymnastic Society, held on Newmarket Road Cricket Ground, on May 24th. A "slow race," ridden by Messrs. Jolly, Griffiths, and Goldsmith, was won by the last-named. A "plank race," in which the bicycles were ridden upon a seventy yards' length of plank, was won by a competitor named Ewing. A one mile "fast race" was ridden in heats, the first of which was won by Kent, of Beccles, and the second by Bellamy. Kent was the winner of the final heat, in 4 minutes 49 seconds. "He came over on his bicycle from Beccles in the morning, and returned the same way after the sports." By the end of the year there was a marked increase in the number of local cyclists. Accidents to inexperienced riders were frequently recorded, and many complaints were made by drivers of the alarm occasioned to horses by the appearance of these new-fangled machines."
The Norfolk News of May 28th 1870 carried a report of the Norwich Athletic Club Queens birthday' sports meeting on the Newmarket Road cricket ground. The event included "A grand velocipede race over a course of one mile." The event ran to three heats and was won by W Calver in 5 min 53 sec. The club held another meeting in August 1872, probably at Newmarket Road, which included a 1 mile bicycle race. There were only two entries and the attendance was a disappointing 200 people.
The Norwich District Cricket Club held their annual sports on Whit Monday at the Cricket Club on Newmarket Road. The 1880 event included, along with the running races, two bicycle races; a 1 mile scratch race and a 2 miles handicap.
The Norwich Amateur Bicycle Club was formed in 1880. The club organised, what was to be, the annual sports at Newmarket Road in 1881
The annual event ran through the 1880's and the meeting in 1888 had between 5,000 and 6,000 spectators and a grandstand was specially erected for the meeting. The Eastern Daily Press noted that "the inmates of the Boy's home and the children in the Workhouse were admitted free to the ground." There were six bicycle and tricycle races and a tent pegging' competition for NCO's of the 20th Hussars.
Sports meetings at Newmarket Road continued up to 1891 with the Norfolk Athletic Club sports and the Regimental sports. The new cinder track at Earlham Road Recreation Ground was open on July 9th 1891 and this saw the end of bicycle races at Newmarket Road.