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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.