These local riding shirts are best for summer mountain biking and gravel touring

These locally made riding shirts will make you stand out in a crowd and works in the hottest off-road riding conditions. (Photo: Jacques Marais)
These locally made riding shirts will make you stand out in a crowd and works in the hottest off-road riding conditions. (Photo: Jacques Marais)
  • Local knowledge creates a superior cycling shirt for warm weather riding.
  • A looser fit optimises airflow and increases comfort in hot and humid conditions.
  • The Shweshwe patterns and colourful designs will also never go out of fashion. 


Indola is a Cape Town cycling apparel brand that knows about warm weather riding.

Designer, Philip Grütter, is an experienced mountain biker and gravel touring rider. Many Karoo riding miles made Philip realise that traditional lycra cycling gear was not always best for local conditions, in all applications.

For dedicated racers, tight-fitting lycra has an aerodynamic benefit. But for most riders, a looser cycling shirt is comfier.

Indola’s interpretation of comfort, functionality, and style is its African riding shirt. The most striking aspect of these shirts is undoubtedly the vivid Shweshwe pattering.

South African summer outdoor conditions can be brutally hot and although high average riding speeds generate adequate airflow, helping off-road riders keep cool, a smarter garment design always helps. 

Instead of a front zipper, the African riding shirt has buttons, which won’t foul-up with dust and grime. The natural airflow of a buttoned shirt facilitates great cooling properties, something the African riding shirt enhances with vented side panels.

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A selection of Indola African riding shirts made w
A selection of Indola African riding shirts made with Shweshwe patterns. (Photo: Indola)

All about keeping cool – literally and figuratively

Where the loose fit works a treat in optimizing comfort, is when you are climbing up a steep gradient, at a very slow speed, in stifling conditions.

At low climbing speeds there is negligible natural airflow, but huge rider effort. The African shirt’s loose fit greatly increases comfort and enhances available airflow, when you are cranking along with great effort, but riding at walking pace.

Unlike most other riding shirts, the Indola African range does without rear stowage pockets but comes with a detachable fanny pack, instead. There is a front pocket to house your Smartphone or snacks, within easy reach.

And that collar? Quite an unusual feature on any cycling garment, but it isn’t merely a fashion statement. Cycling helmets lack the neck shading properties that a traditional wide-brim bush hat. To provide additional sun protection for the sensitive neck area, the Indola African shirt’s casual colour can be turned-up, affording the rider a touch more shade.

The bold designs certainly make a statement, but these African riding shirts are adequately functional too. On one particular product validation ride, the African shirt design was tested on a route from Malawi to Zambia’s famous Luangwa national park. This included a torturous 160km riding day, where the garments remain comfortable without being clingy.

Indola retails the African riding shirt at R967 and there is sure to be a pattern and colourway that is to your liking. 

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