NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Commuters, advocates and elected officials rallied Thursday for the first L train “bike train.”

It’s practice for the planned L train shutdown in 2019, which is expected to take 15 months to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The weekly group bike ride is being launched to help people who are new to biking, or anyone looking to commute when the L train stops running into Manhattan.

“We’re going to have 250,000 people who are not going to have their main commuting option, and we need to provide those solutions,” one organizer said.

The Department of Transportation is planning to install a two-way protected bike lane to accommodate an influx of cycling when the L train goes out of service in 2019.