On April 19, 1943, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann (1906 – 2008) left his laboratory work and set off on his bike for home. During this trip and after arriving at home, he experiences extremely strange things. Since then, quite a few people have celebrated this date as the so-called Bicycle Day. A really strange occasion. What this is all about and why one should not necessarily imitate Hofmann, explains this article from the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world.
Albert Hofmann in search of a circulatory stimulant
In order to understand the events of April 19, 1943, it is necessary to go back a little further. Hofmann worked for the pharmaceutical company Sandoz in 1938 and, as part of his job, was commissioned to develop a circulatory stimulant from the ergot lysergic acid diethylamide.
The Swiss and his colleagues identified lysergic acid as the primary active ingredient of the “Claviceps purpurea” fungus (mainly affects grain) and were able to produce various compounds artificially. The medicinal effect of ergot has been known since ancient times, when it was used as a hemostatic, natural remedy that contracts the uterus in obstetrics.
However, the extract obtained showed no medically relevant effect in various animal experiments and Hofmann turned to other research. Among other things, he and his team were able to extract the standard preparation Methergin, which is still used in many delivery rooms around the world, from the active ingredients of the fungus.
Albert Hofmann takes lysergic acid diethylamide
However, since Hofmann always suspected that he might have missed something in the first attempts, he resumed work on the lysergic acid diethylamide project five years later.
Knowledgeable readers will recognize at this point that lysergic acid diethylamide is nothing more than the full chemical name of LSD and during the work on April 18, 1943 Hofmann noticed a latent hallucinogenic effect of the manufactured substance: physical discomfort, a feeling of inner restlessness finish his workday and drive home on April 18th.
Looking back, he reports that with his eyes closed he had intense visions for about two hours. Accordingly, he suspected that he had ingested the LSD through skin contact during his experiments.
Why does Bicycle Day fall on April 19th?
On April 19, 1943, he decided to verify the effect of the substance in a self-experiment and administered 250 micrograms of LSD, which was roughly the smallest effective amount of all ergot alkaloids known to date.
But now the Swiss had completely underestimated the effect of LSD and suddenly found himself exposed to ten times – other sources only speak of five times – the normally effective dose (from approx. 20 micrograms).
Where is Bicycle day?
When is Bicycle day?
April 19 Every Year
“My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.” – Peter Golkin
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” – H.G. Wells
“You can’t be sad while riding a bicycle.”
“Bicycling is life with the volume turned up.”
“A bad day on a mountain bike always beats a good day in the office.”
“The best routes are the ones you haven’t ridden.”
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
“It’s not a race, it’s a journey, enjoy the moment!” – Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“When I was very little, my dad had his own go kart team as well while he was still in F1, so I always joined and riding through the paddock on my bicycle.”
“The bicycle might just be the greatest of all inventions. It empowers the human machine, and with no input beyond perhaps a trendy isotonic health drink in a brightly coloured bottle at an inflated price.”
“Save the Planet. Ride a bike.”
“To learn to ride a bicycle, as with the other great noble human inventions, is a hugely complex activity. Generally, it requires three things: the learner, the teacher and the bicycle, all in the same place at the same time, most often outside someplace.”
“Marriage is a wonderful invention: then again, so is a bicycle repair kit.” – Billy Connolly
“I find buying a bicycle is a great way to stay in touch with people.” – Jan Chipchase
“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”
“Education is a continual process, it’s like a bicycle… If you don’t pedal you don’t go forward.” – George Weah
“Life is like riding a bicycle: you don’t fall off unless you stop pedaling.” – Claude Pepper
“Now I walk every where I can. I also ride a stationary bicycle for a total of 30 minutes. I do it three or more times a week now and I have lost 20 pounds.”
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of evry part of your life.”
“When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.”
“There’s a tremendous amount of work building the apparatus, getting the experiment to work. But sitting there late at night in the lab, and knowing light is going at bicycle speed, and that nobody in the history of mankind has ever been here before – that is mind-boggling. It’s worth everything.”
“The bicycle kick is not easy to do.”
“When I put a bicycle wheel on a stool, the fork down, there was no idea of a ‘ready-made’ or anything else. It was just a distraction. I didn’t have any special reason to do it, or any intention of showing it or describing anything.”
“Riding a bicycle is the summit of human endeavour – an almost neutral environmental effect coupled with the ability to travel substantial distances without disturbing anybody. The bike is the perfect marriage of technology and human energy.”
“Happiness is actually found in simple things, such as taking my nephew around the island by bicycle or seeing the stars at night. We go to coffee shops or see airplanes land at the airport.”
“Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. Of course, I could be wrong.”
“My older brother and I read all the time. My father read, but only things related to religion. One year, he did read a set of stories that was called something like ‘365 Stories’ out loud to us. They followed a family for the year, a page a day. They were about kids with simple problems – like a wheel coming off their bicycle.”
“The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off.”
“About 25 years ago, I took a bicycle across the United States. I soon found out that the greatest item of clothing was the trusty bandanna. There were dozens of uses for a bandanna – as a pot holder, a chain cleaner, a sun shield, a headband, a snot rag, a declaration of Kerouacian intent.”
“I really don’t like the gym. I like experiences, so I take any chance I get to go on a bicycle or on a hike.”
“Riding a bicycle is about getting back to basics. It’s good for the waistline and it’s good for the wallet, is what I’m saying.”
“I ride a bicycle daily in London and have done for many years.”
“My own preferred fitness regime is to use my bicycle.” – Paul Hollywood
“If I’m in the English countryside and get on my bicycle, I see what sort of strange inbred rural locals I can snap.”
“When I was young, I used to expect Parisians to wear little black berets, to bicycle about with strings of onions around their necks, and to brandish long sticks of bread, just like they used to do in school textbooks.”
“I was on a bridge going down; the bicycle broke and I smashed to the ground, face first. I broke my jaw and my teeth, and had to have plastic surgery.”
“A healthy body means a healthy mind. You get your heart rate up, and you get the blood flowing through your body to your brain. Look at Albert Einstein. He rode a bicycle. He was also an early student of Jazzercise. You never saw Einstein lift his shirt, but he had a six-pack under there.”
“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.”
“It could be a walk in the park, it could be a ride on your bicycle. It does not have to be an organized team activity… Be as creative as you want, but find a way to get your exercise in.”
“What I absolutely want is to suggest that before it’s anything else, redemption is God mending the bicycle of our souls; God bringing out the puncture repair kit, re-inflating the tires, taking off the rust, making us roadworthy once more. Not so that we can take flight into ecstasy, but so that we can do the next needful mile of our lives.”
“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” – Gloria Steinem
“The White Woman on the Green Bicycle’ is a love story mapped onto an unfolding political tragedy: that of the failure of the Independence era in Trinidad.”
“A gorilla with a cellphone riding a bicycle is bound to generate some clever captions. – Steve Breen”
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. – H. G. Wells”
“My main form of transportation at that time was a bicycle, because bicycles could move though the crowd.”
“The act of riding a bicycle isn’t causing brain trauma. Yeah, you could fall, but that’s if something goes wrong. Everything could go right in football, and it’s still dangerous.”
“Safe Routes to School is one with great potential to get children walking and biking to school again. The program uses federal grants to make road and sidewalk repairs aimed at getting kids to school safely on foot or bicycle. The money also supports efforts to get the community, school officials and others involved.”
“When I was a kid, we played outside until we couldn’t see and had to go in. I rode my bicycle and played tag football, kick the can, and hide-and-go-seek.”
“One of the most important days of my life was when I learned to ride a bicycle.” – Michael Palin
“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” – Charles M. Schulz
“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” – Irene Dunne
“In order to succeed, you have to fail, no? You ride a bicycle, you fail; you try a few times, you succeed.”
“Throughout human history, in any great endeavour requiring the common effort of many nations and men and women everywhere, we have learned – it is only through seriousness of purpose and persistence that we ultimately carry the day. We might liken it to riding a bicycle. You stay upright and move forward so long as you keep up the momentum.”
“My favorite movie ever is ‘Bicycle Thieves.'”
“Guys would sleep with a bicycle if it had the right color lip gloss on. They have no shame. They’re like bull elks in a field.”
“I think I’ve had some of my better ideas on a bicycle.”
“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.”
“That was in the days when everyone rode a bicycle, and the journal had a circulation of over one hundred and twenty-five thousand weekly, so my verses and illustrations became known to a fairly large public.”
“I have no driver’s license, so I ride a bicycle beside the Han River. That’s what I really love because no one gives a damn about me for that moment. I feel so free.”
“I’ve never been particularly aware of my age. It’s like being on a bicycle – I just put my foot down and keep going.”
“I really love ‘Bicycle Thief.’ That just reminds me of my relationship with my father. – Mel Rodriguez”
“My first venture was to trade bicycle parts and hosiery yarn. The initial days proved to be difficult, and I earned very little from my business. But I kept at it. Each day, when I retired for the night, I told myself that money would come in the next day.”
“The city needs a car like a fish needs a bicycle.”
“If I can bicycle, I bicycle.”
“I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.”