Links for this Post: Editorial: He Has Ridden by Bruce Eisner first published in published Island Views in the Winter of 1993.
Today is the 66th Bicycle Day, April 19, 2009 so I thought it would be appropriate to excerpt from article I wrote 16 years ago about this annual event celebrated by "psychelicists."
Sadly, the Island Group which I write about in the article is no more but otherwise the piece is contemporary:
We’re excited at Island Group because Bicycle Day is almost here. “Bicycle Day….what’s that?” you might be asking. Well on April 16, 1943, it will be fifty years ago that LSD was discovered. And three days after his amazing, chance discovery, on a spring day in 1943, Albert Hofmann took the first planned LSD session and soon found himself frozen in time on a bicycle ride from the Sandoz building in Basel, Switzerland to his home in the suburb called Rittimatte.
The day that LSD was discovered was also the day of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in Germany. At the time, Europe was held in a strangle grip of Nazism and Fascism, the world was engaged in the most brutal war in history. And it may be no coincidence that LSD was discovered almost simultaneously with another new and powerful technology, atomic energy and its dark side, nuclear weapons. Timothy Leary, Alexander Shulgin and others have pointed out that it was almost as if psychedelics, with their amazing transformative powers had to evolve at the same time as the human species had discovered a way to destroy itself–as a counterbalance or antidote. Clearly, the discovery of LSD came at a critical point in world history, and fifty years later, its effects are perhaps just being felt. It wasn’t until twenty years after its discovery that LSD found its way into popular use. Many among the generation of Baby Boomers took LSD and “Turned On, Tuned In, and Dropped Out.” Eventually they dropped back in again, and a new generation with a different vision of the world, that came out of visionary and unitive experiences catalyzed by LSD, is about to take over the reigns of power here in America.
I have been celebrating the discovery of LSD since I met Albert Hofmann, back in 1976 in Basel. We had lunch on a bridge over the Rhine, and he showed us the path he rode.
I also remember getting together with Michael Horowitz, his wife Cynthia Palmer, Peter Stafford and his partner Lynn Francis on the occasion of the 36th Anniversary of LSD. Michael and Cindy presented me with an inscribed copy of Moksha, the collected writings of Aldous Huxley on that occasion, noting it’s significance of that date. Michael had written a wonderful little futuristic piece about the 50th. Anniversary of LSD’s discovery, filled with stories about space colonies (Leary had just launched his SMILE campaign) and predicting the legalization and widespread use of psychedelics in 1993 for our Psychedelic Education Center’s Blotter newsletter.
Well certainly we haven’t traveled as far as Michael had hoped for, but there are bright new development with respect to psychedelic culture. Some of these include a new administration in Washington, the burgeoning new rave youth culture honoring the psychedelic experience, the shift in government positions with regard to experiments with LSD and MDMA as well as fresh international interest and experimentation. The Island Group is planning an event in the Bay Area, to celebrate this new rush of hope.
Psychelists must always remember that we are and always have been a small minority in the U.S. and an ever so minuscule blip on the world screen. That is why it is important for us to unite on the day that commemorates the discovery of the new technology that gave birth to our psychedelic movement. Remember, “He has ridden.”
I also am including an animated film on YouTube video by David Normal called "The Bicycle Ride" in honor of the later Albert Hofmann's discovery.