Friendship Cycles is the twelfth episode of the seventh season in this television sitcom on Family Matters, which was aired from ABC on January 5, 1996. It was directed by Joel Zwick and written by Sheila M. Anthony.
Steve really wants to go on a class bicycle trip with Myra, but he doesn't know how to ride a bicycle. When Carl refuses to teach Steve how to ride a bicycle, Steve tries to teach himself. As clumsy as he is, Steve almost kills himself, until Carl finally feels sorry for him, and helps out.
Meanwhile, Laura brushes off Maxine's wish to become a hairdresser as being foolhardy. Maxine is hurt by that, and Maxine and Laura argue over whether Maxine should go to college or go to cosmetology school. It soon becomes apparent that the reason for Laura's attitude is because she's afraid she'll lose a friend if Maxine goes off to cosmetology school, and Laura's attitude was meant to try to discourage Maxine from going to cosmetology school.
Also, Carl is obsessed with his new car.
Steve really wants to go on a class bicycle trip with Myra, but he doesn't know how to ride a bicycle. When Carl refuses to teach him how to ride a bicycle, Urkel asks him why. Carl reminds Steve of all the times he tried to teach him how to defend himself in a boxing ring, drive a car and even swim. The three attempts nearly got him killed and this time, he has refused his services. Carl makes it clear that if Urkel wants to learn how to ride a bicycle, he will have to learn on his own.
Meanwhile, Laura brushes off Maxine's wish to become a hairdresser as being foolhardy. She is hurt by that, believing Laura is selfish. This leads to an argument over Maxine's plans to go to cosmetology school. Laura demands that she stays on the original path of their dreams of going to Harvard. Maxine refuses, stating that being a cosmetologist has been her dream since then. She and Laura end up not talking to each other.
The next day, Steve shows up decked in a helmet and pads to teach himself how to ride a bicycle. As clumsy as he is, Urkel almost kills himself. Feeling sorry for him, Carl tries to get him to be sensible by admitting defeat and tell Myra that he can't go on the bicycle trip. He mentions it's too painful to see Steve continue to put himself through this torture. However, Urkel refuses telling Carl off that this trip means a lot to him and Myra. Steve also mentions that he is determined to learn how to ride a bicycle whether Carl wants to help him or not. Finally convinced to help him, Carl decides to teach him how to ride a bicycle with predictable results.
The next day in the kitchen, Laura has a hard time with her hair maintenance without Maxine's help. Harriette notices her hair is a mess and decides to talk to her about it. Laura finally confess that her attitude in discouraging Maxine from going to cosmetology school had been out of resentment because she felt like her friend was betraying their original dreams of going to Harvard. She also feels like Maxine doesn't know how foolhardy that plan is. Harriette sets Laura straight by mentioning how selfish her own behavior is. She also mentions that just because Maxine wants to on a different path in being a cosmetologist, it doesn't mean Laura should be unsupportive of her friend. Harriette mentions that her hairdresser makes twice as much money helping her clientele with their hair. She ends her conversation by warning Laura that if she keeps up her current behavior, she will end up being alone. This gives her a lot to think about and realizes how selfish she's been.
Carl finally gets his new car on the day Steve aces in riding a bicycle. Later on Waldo has brought Maxine to the Winslow home's living room. She has refused to talk to Laura, but he wisely convinces her to hear her friend out. Waldo claims that he's had his moments with Eddie and Urkel, but they always worked out their problems and still remained friends. He leaves the two and goes to the backyard to practice shooting hoops. Laura finally apologizes to Maxine for how she's treated her. She mentions that Harriette set her straight and made her see how selfish she's been. Laura decides it's better for her to support Maxine's choice of going to cosmetology school, rather than make her give up something she loves so much. In turn, Maxine forgives Laura and they reconcile.
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow (credited as Jo Marie Payton Noble)
- Rosetta LeNoire as Rosetta LeNoire (non-appearance)
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Bryton James as Richie Crawford (non-appearance as Bryton McClure)
- Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
- Shawn Harrison as Waldo Geraldo Faldo
- Michelle Thomas as Myra Monkhouse
- As Carl refuses to teach Steve how to ride a bicycle, he also references teaching him how to drive in Driving Carl Crazy and teaching him how to swim in Sink or Swim.
- Waldo proves to be instrumental in helping Laura and Maxine reconcile.
- This is the first episode to air in 1996.
- This is the 3rd time that Harriette set Laura straight for being selfish to her friends. The first time was back in Old and Alone. The 2nd time was in My Brokenhearted Valentine.