Downton star takes up pedal power

Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter, takes part in the Pedal On UK cycle ride from St Neots in Cambridgeshire to Bedford. Credit: PA Images

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter has taken part in a 1,000 mile cycle tour in East Anglia as part of a bid to recreate the spirit of the Olympics.

The actor's leg of the ride, from St Neots in Cambridgeshire to Bedford, followed new cycle routes and he was accompanied by a group of volunteer cyclists.

It is part of Pedal On UK, a UK-wide series of community festivals organised by charity Sustrans and backed by the Big Lottery Fund's Keeping the Spirit of 2012 Alive campaign.

Carter, who plays butler Charles Carson in the popular period drama, said: "The hardest part of riding a bike is getting it out of the shed.

"The minute I'm on my bike and start pedalling - the world suddenly seems a much better place

"I support the wonderful work of Sustrans and can't wait to join in the Pedal On UK bike ride.

"I would urge anyone who has been thinking of getting their bikes out of mothballs to pump up their tyres and join in. You are guaranteed to feel better afterwards."

After the leg, Pedal On UK will continue around the country and will see events in cities and towns including Birmingham, Belfast, Newcastle and Glasgow.

Downton Abbey will return to ITV1 in the autumn for a fourth series.