Dec. 15, 2016

Questions a totally blind Para-Triathlete recently asked me regarding the following training equipment and their accessibility. 

Here are some questions in regards to the Garmin 735 and iphone apps: 1. When you use this combination do you use your sight at all? Or can all be done with the audio feedback?
I have Stargardt’s Disease which causes a loss of central vision so I do have son peripheral vision that I utilize to operate the Garmin 735 and the iPhone App, Garmin Connect. 
With the iPhone App, Garmin connect, I think you could probably navigate through the App using Voice Over with no problem but working the watch would without a doubt be difficult if you have no vision.
The Garmin 735 is not in the least, accessible for blind or visually-impaired users. I have to use a pocket magnifier and a CCTV to see the screen on the Garmin 735 but once you do the initial setup on the watch and switch on, audible prompts, all you have to do is open the Garmin Connect App at the start of each ride and it will call out data that you choose.
I must be honest though, it is definitely not very accessible for totally blind users.

2. Can you use the garmin and iphone for an indoor trainer as well as for outdoors biking?
Yes. I use the Garmin 735 Watch and my iPhone with garmin connect App both indoors and outdoors. 
When using the 735 indoors, you may have to switch it to bike Indoor” profile so it will record your data properly. I think it’s the GPS trying to search for a signal, when using it indoors, that causes a problem. if you have a power meter connected to your 735 when using it indoors, I think it should work in “bike” profile. 
I typically use my iPhone with Garmin Connect App and the 735 watch when riding my rollers indoors and I use my CompuTrainer when doing indoor interval workouts.
also, I have been experimenting with using my iPhone with Garmin connect and the 735 watch combined with power from my garmin vector Pedals, when outside on the tandem. For example, if my teammate and I are doing 5minute intervals, I switch on “audible prompts”in the garmin connect App and I can here my average power during each interval. I use the earphones that Appl sends out with te iPhone. 
This is super helpful with pacing.
The Garmin 735 has a heart rate monitor built-in to the watch itself so it records HR from your wrist.

3. Have you used the garmin and iphone for running? (indoors or outdoors) …
Negative. I don’t run or swim so not sure about that.
4. What do you think are the down sides for a totally blind user?
The downsides with the Garmin 735XT are definitely that there are no VoiceOver like accessibility features so if you are a totally blind user, you would certainly need a fully-sighted user to do initial setup and also prepare the watch at the start of each training ride, run or swim.
For example, if you want to calibrate your power meter at the start of your training ride and you are a totally blind user, no way could you navigate through the menus without a voiceOver like accessibility feature.
When using Garmin connect however, the built-in iOS accessibility feature VoiceOver and zoom does make the Garmin Connect App accessible for a blind and or visually-impaired user but unfortunately, the accessible disconnect is between the Garmin connect App and the Garmin 735XT watch.
The iPhone and Garmin Connect App running on the iPhone connects to the 735xt watch via Bluetooth channel
The Garmin 735xT transmits via Bluetooth and ANT+ channels .
The Garmin Vector Pedals only transmit via ANT+ channel.
The PowerTap Hub has the ability to transmit via both ANT+ and BlueTooth channel but not simultaneously.
You have to switch the Hub Cap in and out, depending on which channel you wish to transmit.
Hope this helps and please feel free to ask any more questions or provide any updates to any of the information I shared here. The technology we use improves all the time so some of my information could be outdated 

Take care,


R5-PARA Racing and Streamline Agency

R5-PARA Racing

A training ride with The Agency Man

R5-PARA Racing and Streamline Agency Training Ride

R5-PARA Racing

Training ride with LP at Lake Norman Brawley school road

BVI Solutions (Garmin Connect)

R5-PARA Racing

Garmin Connect, Garmin Forerunner 735XT, Standard bike/PowerTap, Tandem bike/Garmin Vector Pedals, iPhone

Para Racing Network (Dec08)

Dec. 7, 2016

Performance Pro studio, CompuTrianer, and PC/MaC Accessibility for Visually-Impaired athletes


Nov. 4, 2016

A resource for blind and visually-impaired athletes (Wheels for Training) (Road Cycling)

Rest and Recovery

Oct. 14, 2016

You won't get stronger and faster, if you constantly train at high intensity levels. You must allow time for your body to recover. Trust me, I learned the hard way.


Mar 2nd

2017 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships

Thu 3/2 - Sun 3/5
8 a.m. - noon
The 2017 UCI (International Cycling Union) Para-Cycling Track World Championships will take place this season in Carson, CA at the VELO sports Center.


Mar 22nd

2017 R5-PARA Racing Spring Training Camp

Wed 3/22 - Wed 3/29
8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
A 2017 Para-Cycling Road National Championship preparation camp.


May 4th

2017 Para-Cycling Road National Championships

Thu 5/4 - Sun 5/7
8 a.m. - noon
2017 Para-Cycling Road National Championships


May 27th

2017 Tennessee Para-Cycling Open

Sat 5/27 - Sun 5/28
8 a.m. - noon
TPO is a Paracycling event for all UCI-recognized paracycling classes plus recumbent classes.