Compton Gonsalves’ cycling career began on a borrowed bicycle at Saint Mary's College, Trinidad and Tobago in 1945 and, within a year, he was competing internationally for his country, winning a bronze medal in the 4000m team pursuit at the fifth Central American and Caribbean Games. Upon his return he founded the Saddle Boys Cycle Club and, the following year, won the national cycling championship, capturing five events, placing second in a sixth, and establishing records in the ½ and 15 mile races. His success continued throughout the year until he abruptly gave up the sport and moved to England. He decided to return after a ten-month hiatus, in the hopes of winning a medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics, but his absence took its toll on his skills and he finished joint 16th out of 21 competitors in the 1000m time trial and was eliminated in the first round of the sprint.
In 1949 Gonsalves teamed up with 1948 cycling alternate Ferdi de Gannes to remove cycling from the aegis of the Amateur Athletic Association, which in turn was controlled by Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd. Their national and international legal struggle eventually culminated in the founding of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation in 1951, but both men had lost significant time on their athletic careers. Gonsalves still managed to compete successfully, however, winning silver and bronze medals in the 1000m match sprint and 100m time trial events respectively at the 1950 Central American and Caribbean Games. He raced his final major international races at the 1951 World Championships prior to pursuing sports administration and eventually assuming the presidency of the Cycling Federation that he had fought to create. In April 2010 his home country held the first annual Compton Gonsalves All Star Invitational 300 Metre Power Sprint in his honor.