Motor-paced cycling was extremely popular in Rhode Island at the end of the 19th century through the early 1930s. Motor-paced refers to cycling behind a pacer on a motorcycle. The cyclist (or stayer) follows as close as they can to benefit from the slipstream of their pacer. This branch of cycling once filled huge stadiums and had its own world title. Companies such as Dunlop sponsored pacing teams and races were in velodromes or on other oval and steeply banked tracks to allow high-speed racing. After a flying start the cyclists link up with their pacers. Riding counterclockwise, passing can only be done on the right, a blue line separating the longer passing lane from the inner. Typically four to six couples competed in motor-paced racing covering distances or over a set period of time.
The end of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century bicycle racing (motor-paced and sprint) proved to be one of the favorite summer sports in Rhode Island. Collingwood Bicycle Track in Warwick, RI and the Crescent Park Track in Riverside, RI drew thousands of spectators during the season. The Providence Colosseum opened at the turn of the century for cycle racing and hosted several of the world's leading cyclists (sometimes referred to as anklers in the press). The circuit of tracks in the country; Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Providence, formed a combination and cornered the leading riders of the paced game. Will Stinson represented the Providence Colosseum and was an American Middle Distance Champion. Bobby Walthour won America’s greatest race, the six-day race inside Madison Square Garden in 1901. Albert Champion of France won the 1899 Paris–Roubaix and was French Motor-paced Champion in 1904. In 1905 he incorporated the Albert Champion Company in Boston to make porcelain spark plugs. The company is now known as ACDelco and is owned by General Motors. Harry Elkes held the world record for "paced-cycle racing" during most of his career and was called "one of the greatest middle-distance riders that ever pedalled a bicycle."