The correct syntax for changing the cycling behavior of an auto-increment column is...
ALTER TABLE ALTER COLUMN $columnName SET [NO] CYCLE
...according to the 2016 SQL Standard, part 2, sections 11.20 (<alter identity column specification) and 11.72 (<sequence generator definition>). This is also the syntax used by DB2 (see https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/en/SSEPEK_10.0.0/sqlref/src/tpc/db2z_sql_altertable.html). Right now Derby does not accept the required SET keyword. We should bring Derby into compliance with the Standard. I will attach a patch to do this.