Sports History On This Day: July 1

July 1, 1893 – It was a beautiful day for a bike ride! At least in San Francisco where on this day they opened the first American wooden bicycle race track. Velodrome is the proper name of the venues that started popping up all over the world in the late 19th and early twentieth century as people racing bikes around a wooden oval track was all the rage.

According to Wikipedia, the first such cycling stadium was built in 1877, the Preston Park Velodrome in Brighton, United Kingdom, constructed by the British Army. Some of these sites after that were purpose-built just for cycling, and others were built as part of facilities for other sports; many were built around athletics tracks or other grounds and any banking was shallow.

We have talked about football fields being placed in the infield of these velodromes on many of football history podcasts on SHN.

To find more great daily sports history make sure to check out the Sports Jersey Dispatch and Pigskin Dispatch.

a velodrome in Levallois-Perret, France circa 1910
The photo is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons of a velodrome in Levallois-Perret, France circa 1910. Special thanks to the resources of, and for the information obtained.

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