Bicycle Day commemorates the occasion of April 19, 1943 When Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann I intentionally ingested 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of The psychedelic drug (or entheogen) lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in order to determine the properties of LSD. Hofmann had first synthesized LSD on November 16, 1938in the Sandoz (now Novartis) laboratories in Basel, Switzerland.
However it wasn’t until 19 April 1943 that he discovered the psychedelic properties of LSD When. Less than an hour after taking it Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a 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 incredibly 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 …”
This bicycle ride home, convinced 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. Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally.
The celebration of Bicycle Day originated in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1985, when Thomas B. Roberts, then a Professor at Northern Illinois University, invented the name “Bicycle Day” when he founded the first Bicycle Day celebration at his home. Several years later, he sent an announcement made by one of his students to friends and Internet lists, thus propagating the idea and the celebration. Bicycle Day is increasingly observed in psychedelic communities as a day to celebrate the discovery of LSD.