[CR]The Skinny on--PAPILLON DE CAPITEAU

(Example: Production Builders:Pogliaghi)

content-class: urn:content-classes:message
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 09:50:50 -0500
Thread-Topic: The Skinny on--PAPILLON DE CAPITEAU
Thread-Index: AcLXajvM8BQG1+glSY2H91d04Hxu1AAr45rQ
From: "Bingham, Wayne R." <WBINGHAM@imf.org>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR]The Skinny on--PAPILLON DE CAPITEAU

>>>I've seen a couple of bikes that Bailey built, although, now that this discussion is jogging my memory, my recollection is that those frames had no markings/insignias except perhaps for the head tube and tubing decals. The fact that the frames were actually DeCappitas (or that he was not the primary builder) may explain the lack of markings on Bailey's frames. Anyway, one of those frames was a road fixed gear bike - the first "modern" frame of that type that I'd seen. (By modern I mean that it was built in the late '70s). Cheers, Fred Rednor - Arlington, Virginia<<<<<<

Well, I scrounged up the phone number and spoke with Ted DeCapiteau last night. He's healthy and happy, and was quite surprised that anyone remembered him or his frames. This is a brief history according to Ted.

Ted started building frames shortly after he opened Papillon Cycles in 1976. He said that he started building because he thought no one was addressing cyclist's particular requirements, especially his own, which was for touring. He saw a need in the cycling community and sought to fulfill it. (While searching out Ted's phone number, I learned from a mutual acquaintance that Ted was an industrial arts teacher before he went into the bike business.)

Ted estimates that he only built about a dozen or so frames, all custom order. Most of them were built between '76 and '82, when he moved the shop to it's present location in Arlington. The building in Falls Church that housed the original shop was torn down to make way for the Rt. 66 extension. At the original location, Bailey was Ted's shop manager and apprentice. Bailey learned to build frames from Ted, and may have continued to built a few after Ted's departure. Ted said he learned how to build frames by copying everything Albert Eisentraut did.

Most of Ted's frames were built with Prugnat lugs, Cinelli semi-sloping crowns and BBs, although the touring frames he and his wife still have were built with Nervex Pro lugs. Ted freely mixed tubes, mostly Columbus SL/SP and Reynolds 531, to get the characteristics he wanted for each particular frame. For the most part, all frames were also painted by Ted, and had no markings or frame material stickers whatsoever. However, Ted does recall one frame he built being painted by someone else who fabricated DeCapiteau down-tube decals for it. Several of the frames Ted built were road-going fixed-gear bikes for DC messengers, something Ted says no one else was doing at the time. That may have been a specialty that Bailey continued for a while.

Around the time of the move to the new shop, Ted bought a sailboat and started spending more time sailing and less time building frames or at the shop. He finally sold the shop to Bailey in 1989 and started building his house on Virginia's Potomac shore, where he lives today.

I guess I should stop by Papillon and talk to Bailey one of these days to get his side of the story, but that's all from your intrepid (or should that be insipid) reporter for now.

Ciao -

Wayne Bingham
Falls Church VA