The SoCal Norton Club lost its longtime fearless leader and benign dictator Bill Bibbiani on Saturday May 4, 2013. Gruff, straight talking, and yet hugely personable, Bib’s tireless efforts on behalf of the club and force of will (along with help from his wife Janet) built SCNC into what it is today – proud supporter of all things Norton, band of motorcycle brethren, and sponsor of Hansen Dam: the largest vintage motorcycle ride in the country.
Bib was born in 1941 in Chester, Connecticut and got off to an early start in the motorcycle world as a biker rebel in the 1950s. In 1959 he instigated a riot in Fort Lauderdale that garnered national attention and got Bib on the cover of Life magazine. Bib was arrested and given a stark choice: enlist or go to jail. Choosing the military, Bib served in the Marines and turned his life around. Afterwards he earned a master’s degree in International Affairs and Russian Policy and had a long career for the Pasadena Unified School District as a data analyst, purchasing director and finally as school board member.
Meanwhile, after his discharge from the marines Bib and Janet had a long-distance courtship before eloping to California to settle down in Pasadena. Bib is survived by his wife Janet, his sons William, 31, and Andrew, 39, and granddaughters Elizabeth, 9, and Katherine, 10.
After Bib’s passing seventy-five fellow riders on British motorcycles buzzed the family’s house, revving their engines in unison in a moment of noise to pay tribute to a man who touched so many lives.
At his final club meeting, Bib read this poem by A.E. Housman. Bib also had it stapled to the wall inside his garage:
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
As Dylan Thomas once wrote, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” We were all lucky to have shared the road with you for a while, Bib. May we all carry your spirit with us in our travels yet to come.