Riding an MSUB Across Costa Rica –
One Woman’s Mission to Ride, Roll
and Stroll the World

At age 24, Becca Rolon felt trapped in her corporate job and longed to escape. She was commuting 39 miles roundtrip on her bike daily, so she felt ready to take on a challenging ride. She quit her job and rode her bike across the U.S. That adventure inspired her to make it her mission to use human-powered transportation to travel the length of one country in all eight regions of the world. Now she’s roller-skated Israel, walked New Zealand, push-scootered Portugal, skateboarded Uruguay, and ridden a trike across Uganda. Earlier this month, she completed her most recent challenge: Becca rode an ElliptiGO bike the length of Costa Rica. 

Becca uses a different form of transportation that costs less than $300 on each of her journeys. The ElliptiGO MSUB, a stand-up mountain bike, is certainly unique, and she was able to find one to rent within her $300 budget. Becca did just a single test ride down one block before renting it. Then she boxed it up for the flight to Costa Rica. She selected Costa Rica for her Central America travels because she knew it would be a beautiful, safe location. 

Not only would Becca ride many miles each day, she also wanted to take some time to enjoy Costa Rica. And she had to work. Her plan was to ride in the early morning and evening, work remotely during the heat of the day and take short breaks to explore the country. Her partner, Brittany, came along to provide support.

Becca is used to a challenge, clearly, but her Costa Rican journey began in hilly terrain, and she shares, “It took three days of riding for my body to ‘get in shape.’ It was initially a physical challenge, but I could see my arms, legs, and body leaning out quickly from riding the ElliptiGO bike. It became easy to ride, and I honestly craved riding it each day and enjoyed it.”

Becca says that she has undertaken this multi-country challenge to empower herself. She explains, “It doesn’t matter how much money I have, my gender, ethnicity — none of that. When I’m out on the road, my mind, body and soul fuel me. That makes me both humble and self-confident.” 

During her travels, Becca makes it a point to meet as many people as possible in every region she visits. On some of her previous challenges, she’s knocked on doors and relied on the generosity of strangers to house her along her journeys. “Kindness and purity exist amongst us,” says Becca. “The world is kind and beautiful.”

Becca’s inspiring Costa Rican adventure began on April 9, 2024, and covered more than 500 kilometers. You can read excerpts from her online diary detailing the ride below.

What’s next for Becca? Her final region of the world to conquer is Asia, which offers many exciting countries to traverse. Becca hasn’t yet decided which country to cross nor what her mode of transportation will be, but this goal-getter will surely ride, roll or stroll her way to success. To learn about her past travels and her upcoming plans, follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

Excerpts From Becca’s Costa Rican Diary:

Day 1: The journey to get to the top of Costa Rica was loooong. By the time we got the ElliptiGO bike out of the box and assembled, it was 7:15 a.m. and it was already scorching hot.

The hills were quite big. I was honestly riding up one hill for over an hour. And there was no way to escape the sun. Between the heat and my need to work, I could only ride for a few hours. That night, Brittany and I camped out, right on the beach. There were iguanas, monkeys, and coatis all over the campground area. Super neat!

Day 2: We had about a 20-minute drive to get to where I had ended my ride the day before. I started today’s ride at 6:15 a.m. As it got hotter, I found myself only being able to bike for stretches of about 15-minutes before I needed to find shade.

By the time the temperature hit 90 degrees, Brittany scooped me up and brought us to our accommodations, a homestead on the corner of a river, where I transitioned into work. In the evening, I was only able to do a short ride, but it was cooler and absolutely beautiful.

My Spanglish is pretty rough, but it’s been improving since I arrived here. The people are so, so nice. So many smiling faces, and I’ve seen awesome drivers waving and smiling.

Day 3: As we drove to where I thought I’d finished last night’s ride, I noticed my first “battle wound” — a blister on the top of my foot. I popped it and put a Band-Aid over it, ready for today’s ride. I rode and eventually met up with Brittany at a McDonald’s. I hardly ever eat fast food, but with all of this exercise I decided I could splurge.

Two women approached me, saying they had seen me on the bike and were wondering where my seat was. I explained that it was the design of the bike to be seatless, and one of the women just looked shocked! She asked how far I was going, and I said I was riding across the entire country. Then she exclaimed that I must be so tired, having to stand the entire way. I agreed!

I got back on the road and finished my first 100 kilometers, my first milestone! We headed to our campsite and took a dip in the water to cool down, which felt great. Then I plugged into work and worked for several hours. Something that I’ve been reminded of during this trip is to be efficient and to use my time really well. I have had a problem in the past with achieving a work/life balance. Riding an ElliptiGO bike the length of a country and working a full-time job will give you that kind of balance if you lean into it!

During my evening ride, I got to watch the sunset. All the colors in the sky changed to different pastel shades. It was breathtaking.

Day 4: I had difficulty sleeping, and when my alarm went off at 3 a.m., I felt an enormous amount of fatigue overcome me. I decided to take the morning off and managed to go back to sleep. When I woke up, I felt so much better. Brittany and I enjoyed a short hike, swimming, and a nap. It was around 5 p.m. by the time I was on the ElliptiGO for the first time today. I felt energized and pumped for the ride. My plan was to ride past sunset, so I had a night lamp on the front of the GO so I could see the road, plus a light on the back so drivers could see me, plus I wore my yellow high-visibility traffic vest.

As I rode, I felt strong, but heavy winds were pushing me around and making me work harder. And then some stretches of road had no light, and when traffic was coming toward me, I couldn’t see in front of me, which was stressful. Whenever there were side roads, I took them to avoid cars. I stubbornly wanted to complete my planned mileage for the day. I was very happy when my GPS confirmed I had reached my end point.

Day 5: My new strategy is to ride for a few hours in the morning, just before the sun rises, and then for a few hours in the evening, just before the sun sets. I started today by riding for about two hours. I loved being out there at the very start of the day and feeling like I had accomplished something. Then Brittany and I went back to the hotel, and I got some work done, even though it was Sunday. I like to work over the weekend to prepare myself for the week ahead.

After a visit to Monteverde, a gorgeous biological reserve, we headed back to where I had finished my ride that morning. And then the wind and massive hills hit. Woah, buddy! After climbing up steep inclines with a headwind, I had to pedal against the wind to ride down steep hills. I finally made it to a restaurant and spoke to a couple who were on bicycles. They told me that the road I was on was extremely dangerous at night. I never like “throwing in the towel,” but I had to consider my safety, so I called Brittany to pick me up. Not the most productive day in terms of total distance, but I’m closer to the other side of Costa Rica than I was at the start of the day.

Day 6: For my morning ride, the road provided lots of inclines, declines, and sharp turns. I rode through the hills until I descended toward the ocean, where I hit 200 kilometers, before the hills resumed. By 7:45 a.m., when Brittany scooped me up, I was already drenched in sweat. The air conditioner in the car felt like pure joy.

I enjoyed breakfast while I worked, and then we headed to a gorgeous resort with a pool looking out at the open jungle. My evening ride was hilly, but not too bad. When I got back to the room, I took a shower and was asleep by 8 p.m.

Day 7: Today I had zero desire to get on the road. It took sheer willpower to get going. When my route took me along a gorgeous stretch that opened up to the ocean, I felt grateful for the spectacular view and this experience. Next, I had to climb up an extremely steep mountain. As I was climbing, I told myself, “What goes up, goes down,” and that downhill ride felt wonderful.

Our next overnight spot was a campsite right on the beach. By 5 p.m., I was back on the road. As I was riding, I saw a woman on a bicycle riding toward me. She was smiling and waving, so I waved back. Then I realized it was BRITTANY! She had gotten a bike so that she could ride with me! At the top of a hill, we got to watch the sun setting on the ocean. It was gorgeous.

Day 8: Thanks to a rooster that started crowing at 2:20 a.m., I was awake early. I decided to get some early morning work done before my ride. The roads were mostly flat today. I found myself really taking off, and I hit 300 kilometers!

We got a cabin at this super cute resort tucked away in the woods. I had my first legit warm shower since arriving in Costa Rica! After work and a beach walk, I was ready for my evening ride. The road was mostly flat with a few hills here and there, but nothing extreme. It was a very calm night with light wind and only a few cars.

Day 9: This routine of early morning rides, working all day, and evening rides is starting to take a toll on my energy. I slept in a bit, then started my ride. I was treated to the sight of little red crabs running back and forth on the road and bright blue butterflies in the air. I had noticed a nail in my tire, but luckily, I didn’t get a flat. After my morning ride, a guy at the resort helped Brittany take my tire off the MSUB and replace the tube while I worked.

The evening offered extreme humidity and big rolling hills. I climbed up and down over and over again. I finished at exactly my 400-kilometer mark!

Day 10: During today’s early morning ride, I again saw beautiful butterflies flying all around. They are such a gorgeous part of my morning. Just as the day started to heat up, I hit some steep hills. I was struggling up one of the hills when a man pulled over to see if I wanted a ride. A bit embarrassing! I politely declined.

We spent the day at a café, working and enjoying local cuisine. I feel extremely appreciative that I have a remote career that allows me to literally be anywhere in the world.

After work and a visit to Costa Rica’s largest reptile park, it was time for my second ride. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper, and on the single-lane roads here, there is no way around it. On my route, I made a right turn and found myself on a road with no shoulder. Sharing the small space, in the dark, with trucks and buses didn’t feel safe. Brittany followed me in the car, with her hazard lights on, to make it safer, but the vehicles behind her were annoyed by the slow pace. I decided to stop for the night. With no campsite or lodging anywhere nearby, we reclined our seats back as far as they could go and slept in the car.

Day 11: I was 82 kilometers from the end of my journey, and I told Brittany, “Today I am going to finish this ride!” I was determined to make up my lost mileage from the previous day. I wanted to go all day long until I reached Panama. My willpower was on fire!

I began my morning singing, doing a bit of a dance on the ElliptiGO bike and tearing down the road. I believe the cars could feel my energy and see my wide smile — tons of people honked, smiled and gave me big waves.

At one point, I could hear rustling in the trees and squeaking sounds. I stopped and spotted a group of golden-brown monkeys. They were so, so tiny. I watched as they jumped from one tree to the next, one at a time.

I continued on, noticing the many people outside this early morning, sitting on their decks. I don’t think I’ll get used to their looks when they realize that there is not a seat on my bicycle. I saw so many jaws dropping and lots of thumbs ups and waves this early morning. What a wonderful ride!

When I stopped for breakfast, Brittany took care of some maintenance on my GO. Then I was on the road again. I tried not to think about the heat, even though sweat was pouring out of my body. I just focused on finishing my journey.

Along the way, I’d stop and meet Brittany on the side of the road. I’d enjoy a few minutes of blasting air conditioning in the car while I chugged electrolyte drinks or ate food — including delicious homemade tamales wrapped in banana leaves that Brittany purchased.   

The road weaved in and out of small villages. I crossed over several rivers of clear streaming water, loving the ride and all of the nature around me. The hills went up and down, but my body felt empowered to tackle them. I finally hit my 500-kilometer mark. Wow!

Then it started to rain. It felt great, so I continued on as it washed the salty sweat off of me. The rain only lasted about 15 minutes. That was enough to make the road slippery. With fewer than five kilometers left in my journey, my tire slipped, and I fell hard. I got off the road and checked myself for injuries. I was in pain, but I was so close to the end. Eventually, I got my confidence back up and started cycling again. 

As I continued down the road, a sense of achievement started to overcome me. I reflected on all of the wonderful people that I had met along the way. I thought about the heat, sun and hills that were difficult and the strategies I had put in place to continue my daily double rides. I thought about how I’d gotten used to riding standing up, literally climbing mountains. It wasn’t easy, but I stayed so strong throughout this journey.

That’s when I saw a huge sign that said “Panama.” I started to cry with joy. I did it. I really did it!


2 Responses

  1. Kimberly says:

    What an inspiring story! Thank you. I’m heading to Costa Rica this next Month! And ride an MSub. My trip was cancelled last year due to an unexpected Breast Cancer diagnosis and Surgery. This year I go Strong and Stand up to Cancer,

  2. Dainah Graham says:

    What a great accomplishment! I’m also heading to Costa Rica in about two weeks. I will be missing a whole week of EDIM for the first time since I starting doing the GOGO Challenge several years ago, but I’ll be thinking about your story while I’m there.

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