Every year, on April 19, an important anniversary rolls around that you may never have heard of. To those in the know, it’s called Bicycle Day, and it commemorates the first-ever intentional LSD trip.
It all started when a Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann had a very peculiar time while cycling home from the lab. Hofmann was the first person to synthesize LSD back in 1938. He did it by isolating chemical compounds found in a fungus called ergot, which infects grasses like rye and can have some profound effects on any humans unfortunate enough to accidentally consume it.
It’s safe to say that Hofmann didn’t think much of his discovery to begin with. What we now know as LSD was actually the 25th in a long line of similar compounds that he’d been experimenting with, and Hofmann’s research notes from the time reportedly reveal how no one was particularly enthused by it: “The new substance, however, aroused no special interest in our pharmacologists and physicians; testing was therefore discontinued.”