April 19 Bicycle Day Celebrates First LSD Trip

Celebrations will be happening in New York, San Francisco.

While most people in the cannabis industry are gearing up for the high holiday of 4/20, our good friends in the psychedelic industry have their own day of celebration: Bicycle Day on April 19.

On April 19, 1943, Albert Hofmann, the Swiss father of psychedelic medicine, dropped lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) at 4:20 pm, interestingly enough, and went on a bike ride, becoming the first human to trip on LSD.

According to Wikipedia, “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. It was particularly remarkable how every acoustic perception, such as the sound of a door handle or a passing automobile, became transformed into optical perceptions. Every sound generated a vividly changing image, with its own consistent form and color.”

Hofmann realized he had made a significant discovery: a psychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses. Hofmann viewed 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, held the first 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.

While this holiday isn’t as widespread as 4/20, a series of events honoring the day is beginning to happen.

New York City

April 18 – Comedy + Science + Psychedelics = A Better Trip w/ Shane Mauss

In 2016, science podcaster, mental health advocate, and award-winning stand-up comedian Shane Mauss partnered with MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) and embarked on an epic, sold-out 111-city psychedelic comedy tour “A Good Trip.” Along the way, a film crew followed him, making the documentary “Psychonautics: A Comic’s Exploration of Psychedelics.”

That tour was the inspiration for the animated series Comedy Central’s “Tale From the Trip”, where Shane is the most regular and most viewed storyteller.

In preparation, Shane is doing 10 pop-up one-night-only warm-up shows announced as a last-minute surprise, and NYC is one of the 10 cities he is passing through. This event will be hosted by The Psychedelic Assembly. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Come early to enjoy the wild venue, which includes a gallery with a visionary art show and the Athenaeum, the world’s first psychedelic library, bookstore, and social club.

This show will be opened by Sarah Rose Siskind, a psychedelic comedian, Zendo-trained trip sitter, board member of the Psychedelic Assembly, and host of Drug Test, a live comedy show about drugs. She’s the founder of Hello SciCom, a company that combines science communication and comedy to help science and tech-oriented people get their message across.

April 19 – Bicycle Day at the Athenaeum

This Bicycle Day, pedal your way to the Athenaeum, the world’s first psychedelic library and social club. This group will screen the first two parts of the new docuseries, “Open Minds: Exploring Psychedelic Medicine,” presented by ALTRD TV. Open Minds is a six-part miniseries that explores the topics of consciousness, the experience of using psychedelic treatments, current research, and what the future of mental healthcare can look like.

William Leonard Pickard, a former Harvard researcher convicted in the largest LSD manufacturing case in history, will be making a special digital appearance.

Elixirs from the Alchemist Kitchen will also be available. These drinks are blended adaptogenic herbs and medicinal mushrooms intended to stimulate the mind, body, and spirit with a flavorful state change.

San Francisco

April 18-18 Bicycle Day SF

Bicycle Day SF returns in 2023 with it infamous music and art experience, along with its first two-day conference, Discovery Con 2023, which will take place at San Francisco’s Midway. The two-day event will feature keynote panel discussions with leading experts in the field of psychedelia surrounding topics of culture, policy, and science.

The Bicycle Day music celebrations will take place Wednesday, April 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets for Bicycle Day and Discovery Con are available for purchase on Tixr.

April 19 – Bicycle Day Bicycle Parade

Celebrate the 80th anniversary of the discovery of LSD by joining friends in the annual tradition of dressing ecstatically and riding bicycles through Golden Gate Park. It will be an immersive day of revelry, shenanigans, poetry, music, and magic for all.

Meet at Hippie Hill at noon, and bring everything you need for a long bicycle journey. Parade ends at the Music Concourse at 5:30-ish p.m. There will be a special surprise, so plan to be outside until after the sun goes down.

One comment

  • Jazmin Hupp

    April 20, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Thanks so much for telling the story behind Bicycle Day!! We had a great event on Clubhouse talking about Psychedelic Re-Selfing with MDMA, magic mushrooms, and meditation.


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