Commonwealth Games: Ghanaian cyclists loom as 'Cool Runnings' favourites

Abdul Razak Umar makes bamboo bikes for charity back in Ghana - now he's using high-tech training gear he and his team have been gifted.

All because of a chance meeting with stranger Peter Spencer - they asked him if he knew good places to ride.

Well, turned out he owned a business custom-fitting bikes, so he kitted them out and he's now a consultant to their coach.

"These guys - their tyres had seen better days," says Spencer. "They were very square, which makes them a bit dangerous to corner on.

"There were a few nicks in there and tubes showing, less than ideal.

Locals heard about it and started sending in boxes of gear, even whole bikes.

Now they even have 'merch' - in true Aussie style - stubby coolers of course.

"There are so many people in this region now that know Team Ghana," says volunteer Craig Pearman, whose line of work is psychology. "Every time we go out for a training ride, there are at least five, 10, 15 cars that will be beeping their horns, waving out their side window.

"It's almost like these guys have become rock stars."

They have plenty of experience, having competed at Glasgow four years ago. One is their national road-race champion; another is the national time-trial champion. Although some are comparing their story to the Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings, these guys are actually experienced cyclists and compete across the African continent.

"Personally, I don't think I look like John Candy at all," says Spencer. "I'm too skinny."

But there's no denying this team has pride, so Australian and New Zealand cycling teams should watch out for them.

Ghana was known as the Gold Coast prior to independence, so with the local support, it feels like a home games in more ways than one.