World’s first LSD trip happened on a bike ride 70 years ago today

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The father of LSD says he was riding his bicycle the first time he felt the hallucinogenic effects of acid.

Could Albert Hofmann, who died at age 102 in 2008, have been the first cyclist to be accused of doping? You could certainly say took the first bike trip.

Hofmann told the International Herald Tribune at few years ago that, as a chemist at the Sandoz drug company in Switzerland in 1943, he was experimenting with a fungus that grew in grains of rye. One of the compounds he created would stop bleeding in women after childbirth. One day, he caught a whiff of another compound, lysergic acid diethylamide, before jumping on his bike for the ride home.

Hofmann was quoted in the Hamilton (Canada) Spectator:

“Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I had the feeling that I could not move from the spot. I was cycling, cycling, but the time seemed to stand still.”

The date, April 19, 1943, later became known as “Bicycle Day” among LSD users. What followed was its eventual use by psychiatrists, the CIA, and Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, among others, before it caught on with the ’60s counterculture and was made illegal.

More at Oxford University Press.


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