Mine is also 26 pounds, but considering the fact that I'm still a good 15 pounds overweight, the extra metal is not all that significant. Would be a bigger deal if I was riding up mountain passes, but there are no such things here.
I would look for the narrowest and fastest tires you can put on your rims. Tires are a HUGH factor. I went from Kenda Kwest (heavy commuter tire) to the Panaracers (super fast & light, almost-slick gravel tire) and it was night and day. Felt like a completely different bike.
Just rode my bike through the Cobble Beach golf course. I think I ended up in private areas I wasn't supposed to have access to. I was politely ignored by the upper crust of society, including the security guards in golf carts.