Bicycle Day is celebrated as a “psychedelic holiday” every April 19th around the world.
It honors the anniversary of the first-ever acid trip, undergone by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann on April 19, 1943 in Basel, Switzerland.
On April 19, 1943, Dr. Hofmann ingested 250 micrograms of LSD. Less than one hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home.
As was customary in Basel, they made the journey by bicycle.
On the way, Hofmann’s condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of widely dilated pupils.
Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote:
.. Little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …
The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day“, after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he had indeed made a significant discovery: a psychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses.
The term trip was first coined by US Army scientists during the 1950s when they were experimenting with LSD.
Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he could not imagine anyone using it recreationally.
Bicycle Day is observed in psychedelic communities as a day to celebrate the discovery of LSD.