John Allis attended Princeton, where he started racing. In 1963 Allis and three of his Princeton teammates competed in the World Amateur Road Championships in Renaix, Belgium. Allis stayed in Europe to race with the Paris club, ACBB (Athletique Club de Boulogne-Billancourt), as an amateur. His biggest European victory came in 1964 in the Paris-to-Cayeux-sûr-Mer race. Allis returned to the US in 1965 and placed second in the intercollegiate road championship. He would eventually compete for the US at three Olympic Games. Allis was 1974 US Champion in the road race. He won the 1973 Québec-Montréal race, and the first two editions of the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hill Climb in 1973-74. Allis retired from competition in 1976 and later opened Belmont Wheelworks in Belmont, Massachusetts and Ace Wheelworks in Somerville, Massachusetts. He also coached the Harvard club cycling team for many years. Allis was inducted into the US Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1993.