On April 19, 1943, a Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman decided to take a trip unlike any other.
Bicycle Day Genesis
Albert Hoffman, a chemist working in Switzerland, ingested 250 micrograms of LSD. He was so disoriented by the effects that in order to get home, he rode his bicycle and experienced one of the most profound psychedelic trips ever. It’s been dubbed the world’s first intentional acid trip and is now known all over the world as Bicycle day. Whether Hoffman knew it or not, this experiment became the epicenter of the psychedelic movement. Like the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Hoffman’s life-changing ride still colours both the past and the future of bicycle day.
The Psychedelic Affect
In the 1940s, LSD and other psychedelic drugs like peyote, DMT, and psilocybin (mushrooms) were solely used in labs for testing their potent effects. During the Cold War, LSD was used by the CIA for experiments in mind control. Fast forward to the sixties and the hippy movement, LSD escaped from the labs and became available to the masses. Psychedelics were used recreationally to expand your mind in ways of creativity and in the search for “the meaning of life”. Many artists and musicians at the time experienced (and often praised) psychedelic trips like The Beatles, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and Jefferson Airplanes.
But as the flower power movement of the sixties and seventies withered away, LSD took a turn for the worst as people began to experience “bad trips”, showcasing the darker side of psychedelics. The media began to run a smear campaign, with exaggerated storylines displaying horrifying effects like the need to jump out of windows. Ultimately, in 1968, the US federal government made LSD illegal.
Although psychedelic drugs are still not FDA approved, Hoffman’s report on his personal experience with LSD was a key element in changing the perception of psychedelic drugs. For the first time in history, people began to research the benefits of psychedelics and how they can be a great resource for people with mental health and anxiety disorders. After decades of prohibition, we’ve come full circle on our trip and this is where the future of bicycle day is headed.
Dr. Charles Gob Research on Psychedelics
Dr. Charles Grob, a psychiatrist and a professor at UCLA, started investigating the positive benefits of psychedelics when taken as treatments. He’s also on the board of Heffter Research Institute, where research on psilocybin is advancing to treat addiction, mental disorders, and psychiatric illnesses. In the Netflix documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, Dr. Grob details his groundbreaking study. He is using hallucinogenic drugs as a treatment model for people with advanced stages of cancer.
Not only was his research FDA approved, but throughout the study, no one experienced a bad trip or had any serious physiological reactions. “We found at the very least there was good potential in this treatment model and worth of further investigation,” stated Dr. Grob in the documentary.
Now after decades of being shut down, psychedelics have made a comeback and entered an entirely new world. The trend of recreational use and experimental research is back bringing more awareness and information on the powerful benefits of psychedelic drugs. And as the epidemic of mental health disorders (PTSD, addiction, anxiety, depression, etc.) continues to spread across the globe, researchers are finding ways in determining whether psychedelic medicine could be the answer.
For something that has been viewed for decades as mysterious but mostly dangerous, Hoffman’s bicycle stint paved the way for global insight into the powerful benefits of psychedelic drugs. So much so that in today’s world, it’s slowly being considered a candidate in the healing arts and medical treatment. Will psychedelics one day become legal and used as prescription medications? Only time will tell.
Looking to the future of bicycle day, this year marks the 79th anniversary of Bicycle Day. We commemorate Hoffman for his bold choice and consider him the godfather of the psychedelic movement alongside Ram Dass and Timothy Leary. If you plan on taking an LSD trip this year, make sure you do your due diligence. You can use this day to pay homage to the people that have made great strides in LSD research.
Because whether we know it or not, we are on the precipice of another great psychedelic movement. Only this time, it has the potential to stick around for good.
What are your thoughts on the future of bicycle day? Have you ever taken a LSD trip? Please share your comments below and to read more about bicycle day click here.