• Suggestions for an initial basecamp/starter location, or a trustworthy fixer? Any suggested city/town for "arriving" from the international airport, for the initial sleep/eat/get oriented/gather bike or supplies, and for a low-pressure "settle in" to a new country with new language, law, traffic customs, etc.
I would recommend either Vilnius or Kaunas. Lithuania is a very small country (you're never more than 400 km away from the capital!), so our "big cities" aren't all that big:) Sort of like Amsterdam or Brussels, I guess.
Vilnius airport is probably easier because it's only about a 20min drive from the city center. A taxi ride from the airport to the center will cost you around five euros; ideally, I would suggest staying at one of the central hotels/hostels as in that case, you'd have everything within walking distance. Vilnius Old Town, much like Kaunas and Klaipeda Old Town, all have a very cosy, boutique feel to it (sort of like mini Prague), so it really doesn't take too long to get a feel for the place.
Make sure you check out the local beer, and this is the best place to do it:
As for law and traffic, it's all very vanilla in Lithuania. It's not much different from Holland or Germany when it comes to driving; safety-wise, Lithuania is one of the safest European countries for tourists.
• Are there any clubs or local groups that would be friendly to a visitor exploring the country on a motorbike? You don't find that info on the internet lol, but where it exists, it can make all the difference! Some places have truly tough biker clubs that aspire to be Hell's Angels, while other's just really admire the iconic culture and cosplay. It helps to know in advance lol.
Yes! I am actually in process of creating a FB group for foreign motorcycle travelers to get and ask for information and to hook up with local riders for best routes, mechanics, and must-see places!