Soon after showing early promise on the cycling tracks around Belfast in 1905, Joe Lavery quickly earned a reputation for being the fastest short-distance racer in Ireland. He certainly attracted a lot of attention after beating the crack English rider Ben Jones over one-mile at Belfast in 1906. Lavery won many Irish and Ulster titles, including the Irish one-mile title in 1906 and quarter-mile title in 1908. He also set many national speed records as an individual, and also riding tandem. He represented Ireland at the British Empire Cycling Championship on two occasions (1906-07) and competed in the sprint and 5,000 metres at the 1908 London Olympics, before quitting cycling at the end of that season. Lavery was not just an excellent track cyclist; he was a valuable member of the East Antrim hockey team and Cliftonville Olympic Football Club. He was also an expert at motor cycle hill climbs, sped trials and reliability runs. His all-round sporting ability also extended to being an excellent rifle shot, angler, gymnast and boxer. Lavery died in June 1915, eight days after the motor cycle and sidecar he was riding was involved in an accident with a horse drawn council road sweeper in Belfast.