Jack Heid was a pioneer among American cyclists as the first track racer to compete in Europe after World War II, when he and Al Stiller remained in Europe after the 1948 Olympics. Heid competed in the 1948 World Championships in the sprint, but without success. In 1949 he placed second at the Grand Prix de Copenhagen for amateurs. Remaining an amateur throughout most of his European stay, he survived by selling smuggled bike parts, bike clothes, and watches on his various trips. His biggest victory in Europe came in a sprint at the Manchester Wheelers Meet in 1949. At the 1949 World Championships, Heid lost in the semi-finals in the sprint, but won the match race for the bronze medal, defeating Émile Lognay of France, becoming the first American to win a World Championships medal since 1912.
In early 1950, Heid settled in England, still competing as amateur but making money under the table, and doing better than many pros. In England he often trained with Reg Harris and Sid Patterson. After turning professional in mid-1950, he was considered a possible winner of the 1950 World Championships in the sprint. There he defeated world champions Jef Scherens and Jacques Bellenger, but lost out to Arie van Vliet , and finished only eighth. Heid returned to the US in March 1951, and took a job as a maintenance worker. He later returned to cycling a bit in 1957, riding in several six-day races in the United States. He and his wife lived in Rockaway, New Jersey, but owned a chalet in the Poconos, in Bushkill, Pennsylvania, and he died there in a fire in the chalet in 1987.