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The Bicycle Ride
May 12, 2006 3:54 AM   Subscribe

The Bicycle Ride. This animated short, "The Bicycle Ride," is a fanciful depiction of Dr. Albert Hofmann's discovery of LSD. 3:47 video.
posted by fixedgear (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Not his "discovery of LSD," but rather, his first deliberate dosing. He accidently dosed himself 3 days earlier, and experienced some effects.

Pedantically yours,
posted by jpburns at 4:28 AM on May 12, 2006


"Reality" is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
posted by hypersloth at 4:36 AM on May 12, 2006


For those interested in such subjects, I'd heavily recommend Dale Pendell's new book, Pharmako/Gnosis, the final volume in Pendell's masterful and deeply learned trilogy on psychoactive botanicals. (I have a review on the Amazon link). Pendell's books combine history, botany, chemistry, poetic language, humor, and self-experimentation in the spirit of Hoffman's own work into some of the most fascinating and deeply informed writing on this subject out there.
posted by digaman at 4:54 AM on May 12, 2006


Dropping acid, as an exact opposite of the majority of drugs out there, seems more likely an exercise in appreciating reality than an intention of escaping it. I'm of the personal opinion that the more transcendental vocabulary of the proto-languages was due to the eating of mushrooms as humans began domesticating cattle.

Hand out some acid to those piraha and I'll bet they turn into religious mathematicians.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 4:58 AM on May 12, 2006


I encourage all of you, especially teens and young adults, to experiment with psychoactive / psychedellic drugs. It will improve your life. Seek out the advice of friends and family in the know, study these pages, and see your drug dealer for more details.

(disclaimer: I am a priest, but I am not your priest. All spiritual information provided "as is" for infotainment purposes only)
posted by Meatbomb at 5:11 AM on May 12, 2006


Interesting that he drank milk to counteract the effects of the poison. A couple of bong hits usually does it for me.
posted by psmealey at 5:49 AM on May 12, 2006


Acid gives you an amazing 360 degree view of the world. It's like taking the blinders off. LSD and Marijuana are two drugs that seem to have no deleterious effects on the physical being but are seen as the most dangerous drugs by the "establishment". Probably because they offer a conduit for people to open their minds to the enslavement going on all around them. Imagine what a wonderful world we would live in right now if Thomas Paine had succeeded...
posted by any major dude at 6:13 AM on May 12, 2006


Those interested in Albert Hofmann and LSD, which he calls his 'problem child,' should read this fascinating article from the NY Times. Registration may be required.
posted by sindark at 6:21 AM on May 12, 2006


two drugs that seem to have no deleterious effects on the physical being...

You're taking them wrong.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 6:24 AM on May 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Interesting video.
posted by deviantlnx at 6:45 AM on May 12, 2006


It will improve your life

Like the acute paranoia, laughing uncontrollably until I feared for my life, and writhing on the floor for hours as geometric shapes without mercy turned themselves inside out in my head. That kind of improvement.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:08 AM on May 12, 2006


Like the acute paranoia, laughing uncontrollably until I feared for my life, and writhing on the floor for hours as geometric shapes without mercy turned themselves inside out in my head. That kind of improvement.

Hey man, whatever doesn't kill you &c.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:15 AM on May 12, 2006


Like the acute paranoia, laughing uncontrollably until I feared for my life, and writhing on the floor for hours as geometric shapes without mercy turned themselves inside out in my head. That kind of improvement.

Now that's good stuff!

YouTube link. The FPP took forever, and didn't work for me. Actually, YouTube is still loading, loading, loading ...

Thanks for the tip, digaman. Sounds like a great book.

I'm of the personal opinion that the more transcendental vocabulary of the proto-languages was due to the eating of mushrooms as humans began domesticating cattle.

You and what's his name. I lost that book in a fire long ago, and I can't even remember what it's called now (help me out.) I, too, am convinced that all of the religious "prophets" of the past were tripping balls (burning bushes, psychedelic urine, etc.)
posted by mrgrimm at 7:23 AM on May 12, 2006


Personally, I've always preferred the much more controlable experience or mushrooms, as opposed to the out-of-control-rollercoaster effect of much of the heavily speed-laced LSD available today.
But, back in the day, a sunny afternoon with a bit of blotter was supremely sublime.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:24 AM on May 12, 2006


I also accidently ingested acid. I believed I was going to die as I lay on the floor and the entire world collapsed into what can only can be described as Aristotle's prime matter. It was a horrible, horrible experience. Though towards the end as I realized I had not, in fact, died it became incredibly enlightening. Though I still don't know whether the drug was enlightening or whether the fact that I realized I hadn't jumped off the deep end was such a relief that I couldn't help but feel amazing.

"Hey oh my God I had the weirdest experience, I was cleaning my contacts with your contact solution and then ..."
"That was acid"
"Oh"
posted by geoff. at 7:38 AM on May 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


I just love the fact that albert hofman is 100. GO albert!
posted by leibniz at 7:40 AM on May 12, 2006


Don't do acid alone, guys. Get a group. Make sure at least one of the group has done it before, so he can keep reminding the first-timers that "hey, relax, you're on drugs."

Wear comfortable clothing. Stock the place with a bunch of visual and tactile stimulating toys and objects.

Prepare to have fun.
posted by quite unimportant at 8:21 AM on May 12, 2006


Thorzdad: you can easily avoid "heavily speed-laced LSD" by using blotter paper, which can only hold a few milligrams of chemical. This is fine for LSD, which has a dose around 100 micrograms, but a dose of speed is more like 20 mg and simply wouldn't fit on the paper.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:59 AM on May 12, 2006


heavily speed-laced LSD
If I'm not mistaken, LSD is not cut with speed. Instead, "the 'speedy' quality of unadulterated LSD is due to the pharmacological actions of LSD itself, and not necessarily due to decomposition or impurities. LSD typically causes early adrenergic effects such as sweating, nervousness, jaw grinding and insomnia which are easily confused with the side effects of amphetamine."1

It's been a long time since I've been remotely in touch with a community that knows more than propaganda about drugs, but if I recall correctly from watching LSD being produced, speed-laced LSD is an urban myth. The explanation goes something like this.

Note the prices should tell you a bit about the timing of this story.

Let's say we're tripping. You panic and start asking, "Do you think this stuff is laced?" and making comments like, "This stuff is very dirty." Other than your reactions, I am otherwise not bothered by the very same LSD, so I ask you a very important question, "How much did we pay for these?"

"Fifty cents a tab. Why do you ask?"

"How much does speed cost?"

"A couple bucks, but I don't know," you reply.

"Why would someone making LSD and selling it for fifty cents a tab cut it with something that is four or more times as expensive per dosage?"

At which point, you ask to go to the hospital because that just freaked you out way too much.

Please note, the economics of your cohort may have been very different.
posted by sequential at 8:59 AM on May 12, 2006


sequential : "'Why would someone making LSD and selling it for fifty cents a tab cut it with something that is four or more times as expensive per dosage?'"

The scenario somewhere on Erowid is that the LSD is laced with a very small amount of 'speed', say, 2-3 mg. More isn't supposedly required because the small amount is enough to potentiate the acid. I don't buy it because acid does have amphetamine-like effects on its own, and more likely the varying quality of acid is due to the presence of synthesis byproducts in varying proportions, which might modulate the effects.
posted by Gyan at 10:04 AM on May 12, 2006


Not to mention the naive thought that the price of a drug reflects just the cost incurred by the dealer. Demand plays a big role, too.
posted by Gyan at 10:08 AM on May 12, 2006


2-3 mg of speed wouldn't have the slightest effect on you.
posted by empath at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2006


That recreation was unrealistic.


a) for those effects, you need at least 800mics of some owsley - demonic shifts =/ demons talking to you.

b) hoffmans lab was not that snazzy and he did not swig it out of a round bottomed flask.

c) everyone knows the tentacle beast is PURPLE, not pink at the peak of the trip. duuh noob!
posted by lalochezia at 11:31 AM on May 12, 2006


empath : "2-3 mg of speed wouldn't have the slightest effect on you."

I'll repeat: More isn't supposedly required because the small amount is enough to potentiate the acid.
posted by Gyan at 11:33 AM on May 12, 2006


Must have sucked having a bad trip first time out. Having done LSD more than 60 times, I don't recommend it to anyone. I'm not saying no one should use it, I just can't testify to its usefulness or enjoyment. Based on my personal experience, and my observation of those I know who have used it, there is no positive comment I can make.

As to "reality", it's my opinion that LSD mainly alters subjective thought, which is, theoretically, the opposite of "reality" (I agree with hypersloth on the use of quotes). It's also been my observation that different personality types benefit or are harmed from different types of drugs. Some, hallucinogens, some depressants, some amphetamines, etc. Nothing is right for everyone. And clean and sober is quite a trip too.
posted by sluglicker at 12:23 PM on May 12, 2006


Am I the only one that thinks that the animation was dreadful? I found myself simply listening to the Atom Heart Mother in the background.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2006


Gyan writes "I'll repeat: More isn't supposedly required because the small amount is enough to potentiate the acid."

Psychedelic Chemistry and Urban Myth
posted by krinklyfig at 1:10 PM on May 12, 2006


krinklyfig, from your link:

So we've established that a piece of blotter can hold about 5 mg of total compound (any more and the excess falls off the sheet.) Can't that 5 mg be something like speed, or ecstasy (MDMA)? Simply put, no. Neither speed nor MDMA is going to have much effect at that dosage. Amphetamine might have some "kick," but this is below the dosage usually used.

He dismisses the claim based on the notion that the full effect doesn't occur, which I don't disagree with, yet he adds that some 'kick' may be there, which is what I was getting at ("potentiate the acid" is not equal to having an independent effect but a synergistic one). To take an example, marijuana strains with higher CBD/THC ratio have different effects than ones with lower ratios, even though CBD alone is not psychoactive.
posted by Gyan at 1:32 PM on May 12, 2006


It's kind of a relief that so many people here have tripped before - all a fairly educated, articulate bunch, too.

I can't say everyone should do acid - some people just wouldn't freaking get it.

But I'm glad I did it. I learned that there's more to this world than meets the eye.

Yes, sometimes it was an hallucination; but other times, I saw things that were always there, but could never see them before.
posted by rougy at 3:24 PM on May 12, 2006


I thought that it was a dreadful animation too, nonreflectiveobject. Which is too bad, since Hofmann's story is an interesting one. [I'm rather skeptical of the claims about the presence of speed in acid as well - though it's particularly true of substituted phenethylamine hallucinogens {the sort that are more like mescaline, structurally}, stimulant effects are frequently reported for acid and such. If only it were possible to, you know, actually do research to find out how precisely hallucinogens interact with the brain's neurochemistry...]
posted by ubersturm at 4:09 PM on May 12, 2006


Gyan writes "He dismisses the claim based on the notion that the full effect doesn't occur, which I don't disagree with, yet he adds that some "kick" may be there, which is what I was getting at ('potentiate the acid' is not equal to having an independent effect but a synergistic one). To take an example, marijuana strains with higher CBD/THC ratio have different effects than ones with lower ratios, even though CBD alone is not psychoactive."

But this is complete conjecture, and you have yet to prove anything. Yes, it's possible that dealers put ~2mg methamphetamines on their blotter, but it doesn't make sense economically, and it would have such a negligible effect that bad acid wouldn't be "potentiated" enough to make a difference. Marijuana ingested in the typical manners potentiates LSD much better, and you don't have to make up stories about it (or believe the tales people tell). In my years of personal experience, I have yet to encounter either blotter with speed on it or anyone who would produce or want such a thing. The same batch of acid on different color blotter produces different results, as Owsley discovered:

(from a recent post on the MAPS.org mailing list):

There is a famous story, related in "Acid Dreams", in which Owsley, hearing stories from the street that his "purple" acid supposedly had different effects from his "blue" acid and so forth, decided to perform a little experiment. He synthesized a batch of LSD, divided it into five equal piles, dyed one yellow, one red, one orange, one blue, and one purple, and then released it onto the street. And sure enough, before long, word filtered back that the "red acid" was unusually speedy, the "yellow acid" gave much better visuals than the other kinds, and so on. These observations of course quickly became self-fulfilling prophesies.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:05 PM on May 12, 2006


krinklyfig : "But this is complete conjecture, and you have yet to prove anything."

I think you missed the part where I said I don't buy the theory, anyway your links are just as much conjecture.

Yes, it's possible that dealers put ~2mg methamphetamines on their blotter, but it doesn't make sense economically

Why wouldn't it make sense economically? A pure gram of meth runs $150, that's 30 cents per each tab to be spiked. Even at $5 a tab retail, that's easily covered.

it would have such a negligible effect that bad acid wouldn't be "potentiated" enough to make a difference.

And I've been trying to say the hypothesis here involves a synergistic effect. You're looking at this linearly. 20mg speed alone = decent effect; 2 mg alone = no effect; ergo 2mg with 30 mics LSD = no significant change. But this thinking is obsolete, as my pot analogy tried to show. Cannabidiol (CBD) has no psychoactive effect when taken alone, but when a pot strain with significant amount of CBD is smoked, it has a sedating effect compared to a pure THC strain. As per your logic, the addition of CBD shouldn't make a difference. Whether 2mg of meth added to 30 mics of LSD is different than 30 mics of LSD alone is something to be determined using either subjective effects or via imaging or other pharmacological assays. The uncertainty here is whether f(acid+speed) = f(acid) + f(speed).

"I have yet to encounter either blotter with speed on it"

Where did you buy your spectrometer from?

Just to make clear, I don't personally think the speed thing is true because a)acid's pharmacology, b)an old LA police survey that showed blotters to be either pure or empty. But these debunkings are just as speculative.
posted by Gyan at 5:32 PM on May 12, 2006


digaman: Pendell vol 3 is out now? Thanks for the tip! :D

I also have a musical rendition of the bicycle ride on a compilation to celebrate 50 years since the discovery of LSD: 50 Years of Sunshine
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:52 PM on May 12, 2006


CynicalKnight: Like the acute paranoia, laughing uncontrollably until I feared for my life [...]

Set and setting, my friend. You brought that shit to the party.
posted by oncogenesis at 12:27 AM on May 13, 2006


As a veteran of innumerable psychic wars, my advice to those experiencing a major freakout is:

a) have a nice shower
b) set a metronome on the slowest setting
c) eat ice cream (or popsicles)

The metronome slows everything down, the shower would hopefully help with any tension, as well as making you feel clean, and the ice cream or popsicles are reassuring and feel nice in your mouth.

Shag carpet, mellow instrumental music, and lava lamps never hurt either. And pot really does take the edge off...oh, hold on a sec, someone's knocking on my door...
posted by stinkycheese at 9:19 AM on May 13, 2006


stinkycheese -

Great suggestions, all very true.

I always liked the synchronistic/serendipitous aspects of a trip, and turning on the TV to an old movie channel (AMC used to be great), or watching a video (e.g. The Unbearable Lightness of Being) always helped me.

My first, major, bona fide trip involved watching that old movie with Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole - Becket.

It was one of the most moving experiences in my life - and I've never forgotten it.
posted by rougy at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2006


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