Luc Ferrandezâ€™s last bicycle was a Kona, a sturdy model with thick tires, ideal for hauling heavy loads. During his 2009 campaign as the Projet MontrÃ©al candidate for the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, he would hook it to a trailer piled with a laptop, a projector, a collapsible screen, and (this being Montreal) a couple of bottles of rosÃ©. After setting up his equipment next to a cafÃ© terrace, he would distribute paper cups and launch a PowerPoint slide show of streets and squares in Copenhagen, Paris, and Madrid, as well as historical photos of local boulevards, all unencumbered by traffic. He figures it was these partys de trottoir, or sidewalk partiesâ€”during which he made the case that Montreal could be as clean, green, and safe as any place in Europeâ€”that won him the mayoralty of the cityâ€™s most populous district. His mountain bike, alas, didnâ€™t survive the campaign.
â€œI was having a discussion with a citizen,â€ recalls Ferrandez. â€œI left my bike against a wall, unlocked. When I came back an hour later, it was gone.â€ These days, his main mode of transportation is an Opus, which has the upright handlebars and broad saddle of a bike you would expect to find leaning against a canal-side railing in Amsterdam.
I like his philosophy
â€œI accept that some people think Iâ€™m the devil!â€ Ferrandez shouted over his shoulder, making a right onto rue de BrÃ©beuf. â€œFor them, the Plateau doesnâ€™t exist. It is just a place to be driven through. I donâ€™t give a shit about these people. Theyâ€™ve abandoned the idea that humans can live together.â€
Ferrandezâ€™s vision of what the borough is, and could be, seems almost exalted. â€œThe Plateau is an Italian cathedral. Itâ€™s a forest. Itâ€™s something to protect, something sacred. I donâ€™t want it to become a place where people come to live in a condo with triple-glazed windows for a couple of years. This has to be a place where people can be comfortable walking to the bakery, walking to school, walking to the parkâ€”where they want to stay to raise a family.â€