top of page

Riding into the Unknown: The History of Bicycle Day and the Discovery of LSD

April 19th marks the celebration of Bicycle Day, a holiday that commemorates the infamous day in 1943 when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann intentionally ingested Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The holiday is celebrated by many who are interested in psychedelic culture and the history of LSD.

Albert Hofmann, who first synthesized LSD in 1938 while working at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, is at the heart of the Bicycle Day story. Hofmann discovered the powerful psychedelic compound while researching the medicinal properties of ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. He did, however, put his research on hold and did not return to it for five years.

Hofmann was re-synthesizing LSD for further research on April 16, 1943, when he accidentally absorbed a small amount of the substance through his fingertips. He stated that he felt strange and disoriented and decided to leave work early. Hofmann had vivid hallucinations and a sense of euphoria on the way home, which he later described as a "not unpleasant, dreamlike state."

The next day, Hofmann decided to intentionally consume 250 micrograms of LSD in order to further investigate its effects. He rode his bicycle home from the lab with his laboratory assistant, and the experience was even more intense than the day before. "an endless stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic color play," Hofmann said.

This day, April 19, 1943, is now recognized as the first intentional acid trip, and it is celebrated as Bicycle Day by Hofmann and many others around the world. Hofmann's bicycle ride home that day was such an important part of his experience that it became a symbol of the holiday, and many consider it to be the birth of psychedelic culture.

Hofmann studied LSD and its effects for many years after his experience. He eventually published "LSD: My Problem Child," a book about his experiences and research. Hofmann's research made significant contributions to our understanding of the human mind and consciousness, and his discovery of LSD had a long-lasting impact on the fields of psychotherapy, psychiatry, and neuroscience.

Many people who are interested in psychedelic culture and the history of LSD celebrate Bicycle Day today. Many people choose to mark the occasion by ingesting LSD or other psychedelics, often while riding a bicycle. Others choose to mark the occasion by learning more about Hofmann's work and the history of LSD.

Bicycle Day has also become a day for raising awareness about the benefits of psychedelics and the importance of scientific research in recent years. Many people believe that psychedelics have the potential to transform mental health care and could be used to treat a variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.


bottom of page