The Bike Trip

 Ian Huffam

            As much as everyone else in The Courtroom was won over by this show, I remained unconvinced.

The Bike Trip is Martin Dockery’s retelling of his own experiences with LSD, and his recreation of the original bike trip of Dr. Albert Hofmann. Hofmann was a Swiss scientist who in 1938 was the first to synthesise LSD, and in 1943 became the first human to ingest it and have the first-ever acid trip. Due to his inability to cope at work during his unexpected high, Hofmann was forced to ride his bicycle home through the Swiss town of Basel (cars at the time being reserved for wartime purposes).

Martin Dockery begins by relating two of his own personal experiences with the drug, as well as the story of Hofmann’s unpleasant bike ride (the poor man, after all, had no idea what was happening to him). To add to the sense of tripping on LSD, Dockery speaks at the speed of light and constantly paces around the performance space. His concentration is admirable, as he clearly sweats copiously to maintain his composure.

The actual story of his recreation of Hofmann’s ride comes about 40 minutes into the show, and though it’s an amusing story in its own right, it failed to captivate. Indeed, the entire show lacked a connection between the audience and the performer. As Dockery was clearly in his own zone, I felt no connection to him. It was very much like being in a room with someone who’s taken a lot of drugs and is having a really good time, but since you’re sober you only stay mildly amused while this person continues to trip out. Due to this unfortunate lack of connection, I merely had someone recite to me his acid stories, something I don’t usually hear only because LSD has fallen out of vogue with university students in the last few decades.

Overall I didn’t take much out of this performance, except that Martin Dockery has apparently done a lot of acid. It is however an intriguing concept, even if Dockery never gives much of an explanation for why he decided to recreate Hofmann’s bike ride in the first place.


Written and Performed by Martin Dockery